Southampton and Stoke City fought it out for a 2-2 draw at a stormy St. Mary’s Stadium on Saturday, as both teams battled against the elements.
Saints took the lead in the 5th minute as Rickie Lambert curled in an absolute peach of a free kick to make it 1-0, but then a flurry of goals just before half time saw the game burst into life.
First up Peter Odemwingie slotted home coolly in the 38th minute, but then Steven Davis curled in a cross from the right that missed everyone and nestled into the far corner in a bizarre goal to put Saints back ahead five minutes before half time.
However Peter Crouch bundled home Stoke’s second goal in the 43rd minute, as the Potters made it 2-2 at the break.
Despite massive pressure from the home side after the interval Stoke held firm and in terrible conditions in Southampton, the teams shared the points in a hard-fought encounter.
With the draw Saints remain in ninth and just two points away from Newcastle above them, while Stoke are in 12th on 26 points.
Saints went 1-0 up after five minutes when a handball on the edge of the box saw England international Lambert step up and curl home an absolute beauty to put Southampton 1-0 ahead.
The blustery conditions at St. Mary’s were playing a part, as Stoke were up against it in the first half.
Southampton looked more comfortable on the ball and were buoyed by their opener but Stoke continued to press high up the pitch to try and stop Saints from getting in behind them. A lung-bursting run from Davis saw right back Nathaniel Clyne force Asmir Begovic into a magnificent save in the 27th minute, as the rain hammered down on the South Coast.
However in the 38th minute Stoke pulled level as Odemwingie beat the offside trap and latched onto a great through ball from Charlie Adam and finished superbly to make it 1-1.
But they didn’t stay on level terms for long, as a bizarre goal saw Saints go ahead when Davis crossed weakly from the right and the ball missed everyone and trickled into the net to put Saints 2-1 up. Yet before half time Stoke made it 2-2 as Adam’s corner caused havoc in the box and Crouch headed home from close range to level things up again, after a mad five minutes of action.
In the second half the blustery conditions really came into play, as both teams struggled to get the ball down and spray it around. Southampton missed two good chances midway through the second period as Jay Rodriguez headed wide and Jack Cork skewed his shot off target, while Stoke looked to pounce on the break.
After an unforgettable second half, the final whistle went as the points were shared at St. Mary’s.
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne (Chambers, 80), Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana, Rodriguez, Lambert
Goals: Lambert (5), Davis (40)
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters, Odemwingie, Adam (Nzonzi, 79), Whelan, Assiadi (Guidetti, 84), Walters, Crouch
Goals: Odemwingie (38), Crouch (43)