CITY were denied what would have been a tremendous three points against Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium after referee Alan Wiley wrongly disallowed Ryan Shawcross' 95th minute header.
With the game finely poised at 1-1 the Potters appeared to have won the game right at the death thanks to the 22-year-old, however, it was ruled out for no apparent reason.
Prior to that Abdoulaye Faye was controversially sent off for pulling the shirt of Emmanuel Adebayor, however, that was after he clearly won the ball from the Togo international.
Gareth Barry had levelled Glenn Whelan's superb 25-yard strike in the 85th minute, before all the drama of the last few minutes unfolded.
Ahead of the game Tony Pulis made four changes to his starting line up with Matthew Etherington, Salif Diao, Andy Wilkinson and Tuncay all missing out with their places instead going to Liam Lawrence, Dean Whitehead, Rory Delap and skipper Faye.
Buoyed by Saturday's superb draw at Eastland, it was the Potters who started the evening looking by far the better team.
Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller was proving to be a menace, whilst the visitors had Shay Given to thank for keeping the scoreline level in the fourth minute.
Mamady Sidibe, fresh from penning a new long term deal with the Club, found himself unmarked 8-yards out after Liam Lawrence's dangerous free-kick squirmed into his path, however, after firing goalwards Given was equal to him and saved well down at his feet.
Pulis' side showed no signs of ending their early assault on the visitors goal with Republic of Ireland pair Lawrence and Glenn Whelan firing over from just outside the penalty area.
Their vulnerable backline was once again exposed in the 20th minute when skipper Faye rose unmarked and powered Lawrence's corner goalwards, but with the Senegalese defender ready to celebrate, Joleon Lescott brilliantly cleared the ball off the line.
Five minutes later Mancini's side managed their first surge into the Potters penalty area, and it almost led to them taking the lead totally against the run of play.
Micah Richards' deep cross found its way through to Barry, who sliced the ball horribly wide of Thomas Sorensen's right hand post from 8-yards.
At the other end another Delap launch into the penalty area was glanced inches wide by Robert Huth, with both Lawrence and Sidibe narrowly failing to make contact with the ball at the back post.
The Citizens began to get themselves into the game as the half wore on with Barry in-particular looking dangerous.
In fact it was his dangerous set-piece which found Roque Santa Cruz inside the 18-yard-box, but he couldn't find the target with Faye breathing down his neck.
Right at the end of the first period Vieria, who should have already been dismissed for elbowing Whelan, was finally cautioned for hacking down the impressive Fuller.
Just as the two teams entered the field for the start of the second half the hosts were dealt a blow when the in-form Higginbotham pulled up holding his back, and Pulis took no chances by immediately introducing Danny Collins at his expense.
Things went from bad to worse shortly after as Faye was controversially dismissed by referee Alan Wiley after tugging the shirt of Adebayor.
The defender appeared to have won the ball and the referee waved play on, however, after consulting his linesman he decided to show him the red card.
Inevitably that breathed fresh life into the visitors who went dangerously close through both Adebayor and substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Minutes later the majority of the stadium were in uproar when both the linesman and referee failed to spot Fuller being tripped inside the penalty area by the outstretched leg of Barry, after cleverly beating the England international.
Midway through the half Delap's ball into the box found Fuller, who mis-controlled the ball into the path of Whelan who slammed the ball into the bottom corner from 25-yards, beating Given who really should have done better.
Pulis introduced James Beattie at the expense of Fuller late on in an attempt to shut up shop, and it very nearly worked as the hosts managed to keep Wright-Phillips, Adebayor and co at bay.
However, with just five minutes remaining disaster struck as Adam Johnson's ball into the penalty area was tapped home by Barry from close range after his initial effort came back off the post.
Manchester City pushed forward in numbers in search of a late winner, but it should have been three points to the Potters when Shawcross headed home Delap's long throw-in with the last touch of the game.
Still, a point with ten men against a team challenging for the top four, and the unbeaten run continues.