Stoke eased into a comfortable 3-0 lead in the first half.They looked assured,playing some good passing football.The opener, an own goal on 27minutes,resulted from a period of sustained Stoke pressure on the Southampton goal,and a goal mouth scramble caused by a Lawrence corner.Shawcross scored the second (35),rising to head in Lawrence's corner from the right.Mama Sidibe scored his first goal of the season,heading the ball into the net in an exceptionally busy goalmouth a minute from halftime.Another successful right side corner from Lawrence.
To borrow a phrase from rugby commentator Brian Moore "were the team given oranges or sedatives at half time?".Something in the tea probably.Stoke made a ponderous/sluggish start to the second half and were punished for it as Southampton upped the tempo of their game. Stern John scored his first a minute after the restart and added another goal on 54 minutes.Stoke were on the ropes for some 20 minutes with the ball zipping around their penalty area as the visitors went for an equaliser.
Several very near misses and two fine saves from Simonsen later The Potters emerged from their slumbers and took charge of the game again.Whilst at no stage looking quite as threatening as they had done in the first half they saw the game out for the 3-2 win.
Nevertheless another excellent 3 points,which with WBA drawing,were sufficient to move Stoke into 3rd place behind Watford and Bristol City.Ricardo Fuller was booked and Liam Lawrence sustained an injury to his arm/wrist/hand (can't be sure which !)which he seemed to carry awkwardly for the remainder of the match.Hopefully there is no break...Lawrence is so central to many of the good things that the team are doing at the moment that any injury which might take him out of the team could have serious consequences for us.This evenings assists - corners in all three cases - produced Powell's own goal,Shawcross's header, and Mama's 'starter for ten'.
Manager Tony Pulis was happy with the result....for full interview follow the link below.
Link Radio Stoke...Nigel Johnson with Tony pulis post match.
Virgin Media Free (Video)Match Highlights Link
50 great photos from the match (running as slideshow) at the bottom of the article "This One's For You"