Peter Crouch scored an 85th minute winner from the bench as Stoke City emerged victorious in their encounter with Southampton at the Britannia.
Mame Biram Diouf’s 40th minute header had put Stoke one up in the game, though Maya Yoshida’s equaliser levelled out this feisty affair with all to play for in the final 20 minutes.
Stoke looked resigned to accepting their inferior possession stats in comparison to Southampton, with Mark Hughes’ men accumulating 30% of possession by the full time whistle. Stoke were willing to accept this factor of the game and hit Southampton on the counter attack – a successfully proposed ploy from Hughes.
For their lack of possession, Stoke were relatively clinical on the counter: 17 shots and six on target attest to this – though in the 85th minute on this Saturday afternoon in Stoke, a saviour arose – a saviour who goes by the name of Peter Crouch.
A goal-line scramble saw the ball eventually passed back into Crouch’s feet, who deftly stroked the ball home to send the Britannia into a state of euphoria. 2-1 Stoke City.
Southampton can consider themselves unlucky to have taken nothing from the game – Van Dijk’s penalty offence could’ve meant the score-line looked even worse, though their goalkeeper Fraser Forster made a sharp save to keep them in the game.
Stoke and Southampton now both sit on eight points from seven PL games – reasonable returns for two sides who will be looking further up the table than down it come May; at least their managers will certainly be hoping that to be the case.
Man of the Match: Peter Crouch – the veteran 100 PL goals club member came up trumps for Stoke on Saturday, a vital goal and consequent three points capping a terrific substitute performance.
Written by Tom Newman.