Begovic goal not enough to see off Southampton
2nd November 2013 3pm
Attendance: 26, 053
Asmir Begovic sublime goal wasn`t enough for Stoke to take all three points at the Britannia Stadium against high-flying Southampton.
Stoke`s number one goalkeeper scored an outrageous goal 13 seconds into proceedings from his own penalty spot, but an Jay Rodriguez header meant the spoils were shared at a windswept Britannia Stadium.
Mark Hughes made one change from Stoke`s brave 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford last week, with Glenn Whelan replacing Wilson Palacios in the midfield.
The Potters won what turned out to be an important toss, and Ryan Shawcross decided to swap ends to allow Stoke to use the wind first half.
This decision proved invaluable after the ball was played back by Erik Pieters to Asmir Begovic, who absolutely smashed the ball up field, and helped by the blustery conditions and the disastrous decision to allow the ball to bounce by Southampton`s defence pair Dejan Lovren and Jose Fonte, the ball took a wicked bounce and looped over Artur Boruc before rolling into the empty net.
As Stoke`s players rushed back to celebrate with Begovic, the Bosnian stopper looked as embarrassed as his goalkeeping compatriot Boruc.
The goal was officially measured at 97.5 yards and it narrowly missed out on the fastest Premier League goal which was record at 10 seconds, when Ledley King opened the scoring for Tottenham against Bradford in 2000.
Begovic became only the fifth goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal following Peter Schmeichel (2001), Brad Freidel (2004), Paul Robinson (2007) and Tim Howard (2012).
After the initial shock of the opening minute, the game began to settle but was played at a frantic pace.
Stoke nearly doubled their lead when former Saint Peter Crouch flicked on a corner to Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross, but the central defender horribly miscued his effort when left unmarked in the 6-yard box.
Moments later it was Southampton threatening from a corner. Dejan Lovren connected to an inviting corner deep inside the 6-yard box at the far post, but the Croatian couldn`t direct his header on target.
The half continued at a blistering pace, with Southampton playing some lovely football at a high tempo, showing everyone in attendance at the Britannia Stadium why they are so high up the table.
The Saints managed to grab a deserved equaliser just before the interval, when the energetic Wards-Prowse found space on the right wing to float over a deep cross to Jay Rodriguez, who found acres of space at the far post and smashed his header into the ground. Once again the ball took a wicked bounce due to the wind, and looped over the head of Begovic and nestled into the far corner of the net.
Boruc was once again in early action in the second half, but this time he was more of a match for Marco Arnautovic`s ferocious strike after some smart build up play by the Potters.
The second half was somewhat of a non-entity thereafter, with a midfield battle being fought out throughout.
Wards-Prowse did have a chance to add to his assist with a free kick from 20 yards out, but was unable to get enough dip on his effort, following a clumsy challenge by the out of sorts French midfielder Steven N`Zonzi.
He nearly made amends for a poor afternoon with a late chance, but horribly screwed his effort wide.
Southampton should fee aggrieved to not have got at least one penalty. On two separate occasions, Stoke could have conceded a penalty but ref Foy waved away both incidents. The first incident saw Geoff Cameron make a clumsy challenge on Adam Lallana in the penalty area whilst the ball seemed to have struck Shawcross on the arm late on.
The draw means that Stoke are still without a Premier League win since August, whilst Southampton extend their unbeaten run to 7.