Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday August 26 2007
Stoke's nine game unbeaten run ended on the South coast as they came unstuck against a Saints' team desperate for their first points of the season. Goals from Ricardo Fuller and Jon Parkin were not enough to earn the points with the home side putting three past Steve Simonsen as the Potters found that luck was not on their side. Big Mama Sidibe's clash with former Stoke, Wayne Thomas saw the big striker have to leave the field for stitches, which was long enough for Saints in equalise with a soft goal from Surman in the 36th minute after Fuller had put the Potters in front with a near repeat of last weekend's goal against Charlton. Ryan Shawcross was desperately unlucky not to get his third goal of the season when his header from a Stoke corner was hacked off the line (or was it just over? TV replays were inconclusive) and the referee ignored the youngster's loud appeals for a goal.
The second half saw the Saints go 3-1 ahead with two quick goals from Rasiak and Viafara with just under twenty minutes to go, but Jon Parkin pulled back the deficit to just one with a great header on 82 minutes.
The keepers for both teams were outstanding, Saints' keeper, Davis saved good chances from Sidibe, Lawrence and Shawcross. Simmo, at the other end, was just as good as he palmed away shots from Rasiak and Surman to keep the Potters in with a sniff of a point right up to the end.
Nevertheless not a bad performance from a Stoke team that looks very threadbare. Without captain, Danny Higgingbotham who watched from the dugout after declaring himself 'unfit' and likely to have watched his last game as a Stoke player, a midfield that really is makeshift to say the least, Stoke were always going to struggle unless the forward line could exceed the number of goals being let in at the back.
Let's hope that it's busy back at the Brit this week. With only five days to go until the transfer window slams shut - we need to bring in four or five new players now. Hopefully one of those will also be Salif Diao, who seems destined for another spell at the Brit in the absence of any 'better' offers for his services.
Southampton: Davis, Wright, Thomas, Powell, Skacel (Ostlund 46), Dyer, Viafara, Safri, Surman, Rasiak, Wright-Phillips (Saganowski 85)
Subs not used: Bialkowski, Hammill, McGoldrick
Booked: Safri, Viafara
Stoke City: Simonsen, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Craddock, Hill, Lawrence (Pulis 79), Delap, Matteo (Eustace 79), Cresswell, Sidibe (Parkin 73), Fuller.
Subs not used: Hoult, Dickinson
Booked: Fuller, Hill, Sidibe, Parkin
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Date:Sunday August 26 2007
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