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Stoke see off Saints

Stoke City
2 - 1
Southampton

Britannia Stadium

10/03/07 3pm

Attendance: 13,404

Referee:

At last, the Potters have managed to pick up three points at home in 2007. It was widely predicted that the Potters would fare better against better quality opposition that those who have visited the Brit in recent weeks. The Barnsleys, Lutons and Southends battling for their lives at the foot of the table had only one item on the agenda - don't get beaten and with a weak attack, Stoke were only only too happy to oblige. Against a better class of opposition, Stoke always seem to play better. They bring the game to us, allowing us to do what we can do well - defend, whilst we chip away at their defence, without having ten of their players always mounting guard in the penalty area.

Stoke fielded their latest signing, striker Jon Parkin, on loan from Hull and had to make do without Lee Hendrie, giving the other Lee - Martin another start on the wing.

Stoke started well and seemed to have the Saints under control, but in the 17th minute it all seemed to go wrong. Steve Simonsen could only parry a strong shot by Chris Baird and Marek Sagonowski was on hand to pick up the rebound and knock it into the net.

The City faithful was stunned into silence until a few minutes later when Lee Martin run down the wing looked like he was going nowhere but a great shot on goal from a very acute angle was just saved by the Saints' keeper.

This brought hope to both fans and team and both were rewarded by a Liam Lawrence corner on 34 minutes which was headed onto Jon Fortune by Danny Higginbotham. Fortune had no trouble firing home from six yards.

From the start of the second half, the match was dominated by the Potters, it was just the usual question of 'could they score?'.

That was answered in the 72nd minute, when Salif Daio put Lee Martin through in the penalty area whilst the Saints stood watching and had no trouble slotting the ball past the keeper for the winner and his first in senior football.

Stoke City: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Fortune, Higginbotham, Griffin, Lawrence (Rooney 87), Diao, Russell, Martin (Eustace 76), Sidibe, Parkin (Paterson 67)
Subs not used: Zakuani, Hoult.

Southampton: Davis, Baird, Lundekvam, Powell, Bale, Guthrie (Skacel 78), Viafara, Wright (Pele 13), Surman, Saganowski, Rasiak (Wright-Phillips 70)
Subs not used: Bialkowski, Best.

Star Player

For a change, several candidates to choose from. Carl Hoekfens had a good game in front of some visiting Belgians from the Hoefkens fan club, Lee Martin harried the Saints defence and was rewarded with a well deserved goal and it was disappointing to see him leave early to be replaced by John Eustace. But my star player was former Saint and captain, Danny Higginbotham. He set up the first goal for Fortune and seems to be thriving in his new role as club captain.


Writer:Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday March 11 2007
Time: 8:31PM

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