Stoke City vs. Southampton  3 - 3

Article

Jones hails Stoke spirit

31 December 2012 08:34

Stoke striker Kenwyne Jones has praised his team-mates after they completed a late comeback to draw with Southampton on Saturday.

The Potters trailed 3-1 with 36 minutes on the clock but earned a point thanks to an improved second-half performance and Cameron Jerome's 90th-minute wonder goal.

And Jones, who scored his side's first and played the full game against Nigel Adkins' men, has praised the fight shown by the Staffordshire side.

"We have a spirit here which can never be questioned - in fact, we don't really like to talk about it anymore because it's just standard for us to keep going right until the last kick of the game," he told the club's official website.

"At no point in time did we ever think that we were going to lose the game - It was just a matter of us coming out in the second half and getting the first goal, and then if we did that, going on to grab the second goal.

"Thankfully, we were able to do that, and that is down to the spirit and determination we have. We are proud professional footballers and we know what this football club is all about, so we always keep going until the game is over.

"This is our job, and at no point are we ever going to just stand there and accept defeat. If we go on to lose the game, then we have to accept that, but whilst the game is still going on we will always give everything we have to get something from the game, and that will always be the case."

The Trinidad and Tobago international also looked ahead to the upcoming meeting with reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Tuesday.

"We are doing well, and we have been solid over the past few months or so," he said. "For that, you have to give credit to the team, the fans and the manager, because we are all in this together, and we stand together as one big group.

"Obviously we wanted to win the game today, but getting the point in the way that we have done, and extending our unbeaten run in the process, gives us a lot of confidence going into the Manchester City game.

"The next game is always the most important one, so we will dust ourselves down, get back on to the training pitch and get ready to go to the home of the champions next week. We will go there and give it a go, for sure."

Article

Pulis to appeal N´Zonzi red

29 December 2012 19:33

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis plans to appeal the red card shown to Steven N'Zonzi during his team's 3-3 draw at home to Southampton.

N'Zonzi was given his marching orders after being deemed to have stamped on Jack Cork in the second half of an entertaining contest at the Britannia Stadium.

Replays suggest the dismissal was harsh on the former Blackburn Rovers midfielders, and Pulis wants to see any punishment repealed.

"The disappointing thing is Steven's sending off," he said.

"Steven has moved his foot across, Cork's on the ground and he has planted his foot in between Cork's legs. I don't think there is any intent there at all for him to hurt the lad.

"I think what might have affected the referee was Cork's reaction. Steven hasn't stamped on him and hasn't touched him with the leg that goes on the ground.

"So that's a disappointment for us and we will certainly be appealing. I am just hoping that Mark will have a look at it and, after some of the incidents that we have been involved with this year, that he will look at it favourably for us as a football club."

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins was delighted with his side's away point despite dropping into the relegation zone for the first time since early December.

"I thought we did fantastically well," Adkins said.

"We have come away from home where there is a notoriously noisy home support and our fans could be heard all around the stadium in the first half.

Goals from Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and an Andy Wilkinson own goal before half-time breached a home defence that had only conceded four times all season.

"We scored three very good goals and they have only conceded four here all season," Adkins said.

"I thought we dominated in the first half and I was really pleased, we started OK in the second half and we had the chance to go four up."

Ahead of Tuesday's New Year's Day clash with Arsenal at St Mary's Adkins saw plenty of encouragement in his side's application and adherence to a distinct game plan for Stoke.

"Stoke are a massive side and with all the balls they put in the penalty area you have to defend that," he said.

"Especially in the first half I thought there was some really good play and our game management was spot on.

"At the end of the day we haven't come away with three points but we have come away with something."

Article

Premier League: Stoke City 3 Southampton 3

29 December 2012 18:29

Cameron Jerome hit a stunning last-minute equalizer as Stoke City drew 3-3 at home to Southampton on Saturday.

First-half goals from the instrumental Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and an Andy Wilkinson own-goal were cancelled out by return strikes from Kenwyne Jones, Matthew Upson and Jerome, while Stephen N'Zonzi saw red for the hosts in the second half at the Britannia Stadium.

Tony Pulis was able to name nine of the eleven Stoke players who beat Liverpool on Boxing Day, with Upson and Ryan Shotton standing in for the suspended Ryan Shawcross and Geoff Cameron.

Southampton, meanwhile, were still without skipper Adam Lallana - who has not featured since December 8, but welcomed Rodriguez and Guly Do Prado back into the starting line-up.

And it was Do Prado who made an early impact, delivering a far-post ball into the danger area on 10 minutes, with Lambert on hand to silence the Britannia faithful and smash home his eighth of the season.

It did not take long for the Potters to hit back, however, as Jones first contrived to fire over from only yards out, but quickly made amends on 16 minutes after expertly back-heeling the ball between Jos Hooiveld's legs and past Kelvin Davis.

The finish was a thing of beauty. But one moment of magic proved insufficient, and the visitors duly responded.

First, Lambert whipped in a dangerous cross that forced Robert Huth into a mis-hit clearance on 24 minutes.

The ball rattled the crossbar, Asmir Begovic was nowhere to be seen and Rodriguez had the world at his feet, duly slotting home into an empty net from two yards out.

And, on 36 minutes, Stoke's defensive nightmare deepened. A simple Jason Puncheon cross from deep entered the box and was headed down by Lambert, before Andy Wilkinson sent the ball into his own net.

Suddenly, the absence of Cameron and Shawcross at the back looked telling for the hosts.

This was no longer a case of back and forth; this was becoming a commanding performance from the visitors and the ever-present Lambert in particular.

But Stoke came at the visitors with everything they had after the break and were rewarded on 65 minutes when Upson slotted home from inside the box off a corner to prove an unlikely scorer.

The goal lifted the energy levels of the home players and doubled the noise levels of the home fans - it was game on.

The excitement seemed too much for some, namely N'Zonzi, who lashed out with a poor challenge on Jack Cork right in front of the referee and was shown a straight red after 70 minutes.

But in the 90th minute, the hosts' patience and persistence paid off.

Second-half substitute Peter Crouch knocked the ball down on the edge of the area and there was Jerome to strike a thunderous volley into the top-corner from range, ensuring Stoke are still unbeaten at home after 17 games.

What a way to finish 2012.

Article

Pulis seeks Europa League return

28 December 2012 19:13

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis says the club is targeting a return to European competition, despite the demands it places on a squad.

Pulis' team qualified for the 2011/12 Europa League courtesy of their runner-up finish in previous season's FA Cup, ultimately bowing out of UEFA competition over two legs against Valencia in the round of 32.

Stoke find themselves eighth mid-way through the 2012/13 campaign, just five points outside the top six and European qualification places.

"It's something we should aim for and I'm sure players and fans alike would relish the challenge if we ever got there again," Pulis said.

"That's not to overlook how tough it was with the number and timing of the games and how that affected our league form.

"It takes a lot to get used to games coming thick and fast on a Thursday and then a Sunday, not to mention the fact they kindly gave us away games in the league after virtually every away game in Europe - and they were long trips.

"But having the odds against us is what gets us going as a club, and that includes our fans."

Stoke's next obstacle is a home match against promoted Southampton, who could also find themselves in contention for a Europa League spot by virtue of their position at the top of the Premier League's Fair Play table.

Top flight survival remains the priority however for Southampton manager Nigel Adkins, who wants his team to maintain their clean disciplinary record for more obvious reasons.

"The only way we can beat Stoke is by playing good football," Adkins said.

"If you give away stupid free-kicks you are playing to their strengths and will get punished.

"We are proud of disciplinary record, although I have not even thought about it taking us into Europe."

Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 38 +43 89
2 38 +32 78
3 38 +36 75
4 38 +35 73
5 38 +20 72
6 38 +15 63
7 38 +28 61
8 38 -4 49
9 38 -4 46
10 38 -8 46
11 38 -17 44
12 38 -10 43
13 38 -11 42
14 38 -11 41
15 38 -22 41
16 38 -23 41
17 38 -13 39
18 38 -26 36
19 38 -30 28
20 38 -30 25