Stoke City 0 Leicester City 0: Potters' wheel turns back to the top flight

Amid gripping last-day drama befitting a muddled and utterly absorbing Championship season, Stoke City yesterday sealed promotion with a draw that also relegated Leicester City to the third tier for the first time in their 124-year history.

Twenty-three years on from exiting the top flight with a then record low points total of 17, Stoke are back and the Potteries masses are celebrating with a vigour. The fact that an open-top bus tour has already been organised for tomorrow suggests the loss of the title to West Bromwich Albion is seen as a trifling side issue.

Third-placed Hull City's defeat at Ipswich Town meant that Stoke could have lost on a sodden final afternoon and still gone up. The fine margins were on the Leicester side – and riding the roller coaster of score flashes from elsewhere was more exciting than watching a scrappy game.

Ultimately, Stern John's 69th-minute decider for Southampton against Sheffield United was the blow that broke Leicester hearts but they went desperately close to a winner of their own, one that would have sent their arch-rivals Coventry City down instead.

"Everyone in there [the dressing room] is hurting like hell," said the Leicester manager, Ian Holloway. "It's absolutely devastating."

His downbeat, apologetic mood contrasted hugely with that of his good friend Tony Pulis. "I am delighted for everyone connected with the club, particularly the chairman, Peter Coates," the Stoke manager said. "We have done fantastically well but nobody has to tell me how different it is in the Premier League.

"I'll now have a drink, take two days to recover and then buy Peter a drink, hoping he will give me more backing. We know we have to drastically change the whole structure of the club.

"I told my staff not to come near me with any scores during the game," he added. "I didn't want to know them and thought we dipped a bit when the crowd went up because of what was happening to Hull."

Stoke dominated the first half without often threatening. Although Ryan Shawcross's header looped wide and one from Mamady Sidibe flew straight at Paul Henderson in the Leicester goal, there was little sign of a breakthrough until Ricardo Fuller went close with a hooked shot.

Leicester arrived with the attitude of protecting one point and striking out for two more if circumstances dictated. They started with Barry Hayles alone up front, but became bolder and had much the better chances in the second half.

After Fuller had been denied for a second time by Henderson, a David Bell corner was headed against a post by Gareth McAuley, then Iain Hume and Richard Stearman brought outstanding saves from Stoke's Carlo Nash.

A premature pitch invasion by celebrating fans left a sour taste in Holloway's mouth and he will not have looked forward to the call he was due to get last night from his chairman, Milan Mandaric, who was absent because of family commitments in America.

"If I had seen performances like that all season, we wouldn't have been where we are," Holloway added. "This is my lowest point and I take full responsibility. I feel I have let my family and the Leicester City people down."

Stoke City (4-4-2): Nash; Wilkinson (Buxton, 21), Cort, Shawcross, Dickinson; Lawrence (Pugh, 90), Delap, Whelan, Cresswell; Fuller, Sidibe (Ameobi, 90). Substitutes not used: Simonsen (gk); Pearson.

Leicester City (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Stearman, N'Gotty, McAuley, Mattock; Worley (Fryatt, 84), Oakley; Hume, Howard, Bell (A Chambers, 90); Hayles. Substitutes not used: Douglas (gk), Clapham, Wesolowski.

Referee: M Dean (The Wirral).

Booked: Stoke Dickinson; Leicester Howard, McAuley.

Man of the match: McAuley.

Attendance: 26,609.

Ups and downs


Champions: West Bromwich Albion.

Promoted: Stoke City

Play-offs: Hull City, Bristol City, Crystal Palace, Watford. Play-off fixtures: 10 May: Crystal Palace v Bristol City.

11 May: Watford v Hull City. 13 May: Bristol City v Crystal Palace. 14 May: Hull v Watford. 24 May: Final.

Relegated: Leicester, Scunthorpe, Colchester.


Champions: Swansea City.

Promoted: Nottingham Forest.

Play-offs: Doncaster Rovers, Carlisle United, Leeds United, Southend United.

Play-off fixtures: 9 May: Southend v Doncaster. 12 May: Leeds v Carlisle. 15 May: Carlisle v Leeds. 16 May: Doncaster v Southend. 25 May: Final.

Relegated: Bournemouth, Gillingham, Port Vale, Luton Town.


Champions: MK Dons.

Promoted: Peterborough United, Hereford United.

Play-offs: Stockport County, Rochdale, Darlington, Wycombe Wanderers. Play-off fixtures: 10 May: Darlington v Rochdale. 11 May: Wycombe v Stockport. 17 May: Rochdale v Darlington; Stockport v Wycombe. 26 May: Final.

Relegated: Mansfield Town, Wrexham.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride