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2 November 2013
• Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 26053
A. Begović 1'
J. Rodriguez 42'
FULL TIME: Stoke 1-1 Southampton - this match would have been consigned to the doldrums if not for Asmir Begovic's wonder goal inside just 14 seconds! The goalkeeper scored straight from a kick-out to become the fifth shot-stopper to break his duck in the Premier League, before the Saints proceeded to dominate and grabbed a well-deserved equaliser through Jay Rodriguez's header for a share of the spoils. I've been Livio Caferoglu and it's goodbye from me!
90' + 3'
SHOULD'VE SCORED!!! Begovic is Stoke's saviour today as he makes a fantastic stop to block Ramirez from securing Southampton all three points after the Uruguayan was played in with a pinpoint through ball by Lambert! However, the ref soon signals an (horribly wrong) offside call.
90' + 2'
Bit of a frantic end to this clash, but not in the prettiest of ways as the ball continually pings between either outfit. Can anyone find the elusive winner in these last few moments???
Shawcross zips to the opposite side of the pitch to offer his aerial threat to a set-piece, but he can only head the ball over Boruc. Three minutes of added time are to be played, by the way!
Yellow Card Geoff Cameron
Cameron makes his first contribution to the match with a late challenge and Ward-Prowse takes the free-kick from a deep left position, but Shawcross deflects it away. However, there are claims he may have used his hand in the build-up!
STOKE COME CLOSE AGAIN!!!! Arnautovic pushes on and gets a clear sight of Boruc's goal, and the Pole must dive to his left to tip away the attacker's low shot! Lovren swiftly mops up and it's a corner to the Potters.
N'Zonzi nicks the ball off Wanyama in a dangerous position and advances forward, but his options quickly close up and can only afford an aimless attempt at goal.
WHAT A REFRESHING SIGHT!! Assaidi shows electric pace to breeze past his man and peel inside but can't quite direct his snapshot on target as it skews wide! Stoke need more consistency in their attacking play if they are to continually threaten Boruc.
Yellow Card Robert Huth
I've lost count of these Southampton set-pieces now - they're coming at will! Huth is shown a yellow card for a mistimed challenge near his own box, but Ward-Prowse's cross isn't much better as it goes off for a goal kick.
Southampton win their umpteenth corner of the afternoon and it falls to the all-action Lovren who brings the ball down acutely, yet smashes the ball into the orbit.
Yellow Card Dejan Lovren
Lovren goes in heavily on Walters near the touchline and Stoke finally get a reprieve in the form of a free lick, but Arnautovic's attempt to whip the ball in is horribly wasted as it doesn't beat the first man!
Stoke are under constant siege despite their home advantage. The match is currently being played in their own half, and it shows no signs of abating as Lovren wins another Southampton corner.
More lovely football from Southampton - straight from the training ground! The Saints players interchange at the speed of light around the box, and it results in Lallana performing a Cruyff turn to get away from his man, but he is dispossessed at the last hurdle.
Lambert is furious as he appears to have won the ball fairly with a robust challenge after going into a 50-50 air-ball with Shawcross, but it's a little too robust in the eyes of the referee.
Ward-Prowse has been extremely lively this afternoon, and he comes close to capping off his mercurial display with a victorious finish. However, he cannot get any back-lift in his strike on the edge of the box as the ball rolls to him, and thus his effort is limp and Begovic easily collects.
Shaw again bombs up the left flank and feeds an onrushing Lallana, but Shawcross times his intervention to perfection and Begovic proceeds to take the goal-kick.
Shaw shows great footwork to wriggle his way into the Stoke box, but his cross is hacked away before it can prove any more troublesome.
Southampton have controlled the run of play this afternoon, with their eye-catching European style outclassing anything Stoke have conjured up - which isn't a lot in truth. However, that could all change with Assaidi's introduction!
Stoke are beginning to rely on hit-and-hope as they try to carve out a decent chance. Ireland is found on the right, but he speculatively aims a lobbed attempt which Boruc could stop all day long if fired at will. Maybe the midfielder was caught in two minds... ?
Walters' frustration pays off as his appeal wins his side a corner which Crouch - who has been remarkably quiet this afternoon - nods hopelessly over the bar!
A quiet couple of minutes see Stoke trying to break clear in an attempt to force through an opening, but Southampton are geared up to pressure the Potters into submission.
...which is AGONSINGLY close from finding the top-right corner of Boruc's goal, as the Pole is nowhere near the starlet's curling, dipping effort!
N'Zonzi brings down Schneiderlin on the edge of the box and Southampton are presented with a fabulous opportunity to take the lead from the set-piece...
Pieters again concedes a corner, but this time theres a slight appeal for handball as the ball bounces off a trailing arm. That would've been extremely harsh, in my book.
Southampton win a corner off Pieters... and Lovren is inches away from making the all-important connection following a late run into the area!
SUPERB STOP!!! Boruc looks to have redeemed himself there, as Arnautovic again causes havoc in the Southampton box with his deft movement and strength, and the Austrian collects the ball with the goal at his mercy and drives the ball towards the top-left corner of the net but Boruc somehow parries it away with a strong palm!
Yellow Card Jonathan Walters
A neat one-two is exhibited between Walters and Arnautovic down the right, but it ends with the Irishman shoving Rodriguez, who nips in with the interception, onto the ground.
Just the one change sees Wilson Palacios hauled on in Glenn Whelan's place. Expect an injection of steel and grittiness in the Stoke midfield, as they bid to stunt Southampton's fluid interchange play in the middle of the park.
And without further ado, the match is back under way with Stoke restarting proceedings.
The teams are back out for the second half!
HALF TIME: Stoke 1-1 Southampton - a quite incredulous start to the match saw Asmir Begovic become the fifth goalkeeper in Premier League history to score a goal, and net inside just 14 first-half seconds to also make it one of the quickest! However, the Saints showed great maturity to not let the shock nature of the strike override them, as their loyalty to their passing philosophy paid off with Rodriguez's equaliser. Join me in 10 minutes for coverage of the second period!
One minute of injury time is signalled by the fourth official.
The atmosphere amongst the home crowd has noticeably taken a battering since that goal to draw the two teams level. It's the turn of the Saints crowd to go fever-pitch in these closing moments!
Assist James Ward-Prowse
Goal Jay Rodriguez
THAT'S THE EQUALISER!!!! It's been coming without a doubt. Ward-Prowse is again given far too much room as he roams in-field and sends a deep cross towards the back post for Rodriguez to expertly bounce over Begovic with his head!
Schneiderlin is a lucky boy as he avoids the wrath of the referee following his late clatter into the back of Walters. But not for the first time, the free-kick is wasted and is subsequently cleared by Boruc.
Southampton are awarded a free-kick on the left side of goal and up steps Lambert... to crash the set-piece high and wide over Begovic's net!
UNLUCKY AGAIN!! It's definitely been a match of near-misses as far as the build-up play is concerned. This time, Ward-Prowse makes space for himself on the right and whips a dangerous cross right into the thick of things. However, no-one is on hand to guide the ball home!
Stoke are more than happy to sit back and let Southampton take the game to them. There's a potential penalty shout for Mauricio Pochettino's outfit as Rodriguez appears to be tripped up during his attempts to latch onto Lallana's pass in the box, but nothing is given.
Rodriguez is involved again, but for all the wrong reasons, as he goes in aggressively into the back of Huth. Begovic takes the free kick, however this time there's no repeat performance!
In case you're wondering, I'm still flabbergasted by THAT opening goal - a definite must-see! It's not every day you see a goalkeeper scoring, let alone giving his team the lead inside a minute... Anyway moving on, Lambert utilises his hold-up play to great effect as he threads through Rodriguez, but the hitman can only smash the ball over the bar.
Lallana and Shawcross have a coming-together on the right-hand side, but surprisingly the decision goes in the favour of the Stoke man.
OOOOH! Lambert is a hair away from drawing the two teams level, but Shawcross - in the nick of time - nicks the ball as the England striker readies himself for the finish!
The hosts, meanwhile, continue to teach them a lesson in how to play directly! Arnautovic is having a fine match thus far, despite being stationed on the left flank, and he seeks to play in Crouch again, although it doesn't quite come off.
Southampton are beginning to get a foothold on this encounter as they settle down from the stunning start they were forced to endure, courtesy of one Asmir Begovic! However, their passing game needs to step up a few notches yet - it's all a bit too sidewards still.
Shawcross *again* comes within a whisker of adding to his side's lead as Walters cuts inside and teases the Southampton defence with a low cross that he can't quite get onto the end of!
Wanyama shows his marker a clean set of heels and performs a few delicate stepovers, but his strike is not of the same panache as it is dragged wayward.
Lovely intricate football from Southampton on the fringes of the Stoke box as the ball is eventually played to Lambert out wide, and he launches a tantalising chipped cross into the area which is just about headed clear!
Safe hands from Begovic as Clyde steams forward, leaving Pieters behind in his trail, but can only send a low cross into the oncoming Bosnian keeper's gloves.
IT'S SOUTHAMPTON'S TURN TO REGISTER A MISS NOW!!! How did Lovren miss that... The Croatian defender meets a driven corner in the middle of the box but directs his header towards the ground and it bounces over!
STOKE COME CLOSE AGAIN!! The South Coast outfit are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with Stoke's aerial threat in these opening exchanges, as Arnautovic powers a head at a cross from the left-hand side but whistles just wide of the post!
BAD MISS!!! Shawcross hangs his head in shame as the corner comes in and drops to the gangly centre-back, yet he cannot stab a strong-enough foot onto the loose ball and it rolls harmlessly wide of the target from a matter of yards out.
The whole crowd is rallying behind Stoke, who are cheered raucously everytime they put pressure on Southampton in their own half. Meanwhile, Schneiderlin is penalised for a foul near the Potters' byline.
Arnautovic shows a strong turn of pace to shift himself past Clyde on the edge of the box before playing in Pieters, but the Dutchman's cross is weak and is cleared in an instant.
Well, that effort is very much akin to that of Tottenham's Paul Robinson when he lobbed then-Watford shot-stopper Ben Foster in 2007. Anyway, it's time to regroup for a shell-shocked Southampton!
Assist Erik Pieters
Goal Asmir Begovic
A RATHER INCREDIBLE GOAL!!!! Wow, what a start we have here as Asmir Begovic is the bizzare hero for Stoke, scoring straight from a kick-out! The ball inexplicably bounces over opposing goalkeeper Artur Boruc to hand the home side the lead in the most extraordinary of circumstances!!
Southampton get the action under way in their all-black away strip going from left-to-right.
Kick-off is now imminent in Staffordshire!
Stoke, on the other hand, have dropped at a rather alarming rate in recent weeks. After their best start to a Premier League campaign, Mark Hughes' men have now not won since August, not helped by a sequence of four defeats in their last five games - halted by a fortunate penalty shoot-out victory over Birmingham City in the League Cup midweek.
Regarding the two sides' form going into today's fixture, the visitors have been the surprise package of the season. Eighteen points accumulated out of a possible 27, including a six-game unbeaten run, sees them ahead of both Manchester clubs in the league standings in sixth place.
Andy Wilkinson is Stoke's only injury victim this week, with the full-back suffering from a knee injury. Meanwhile for Southampton, Pablo Osvaldo and Guly do Prado are both missing from contention, but there is better news for Steven Davis who returns following a period out on the sidelines.
Lastly we have the Saints: Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Schneiderlin, Wanyama; Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert.
The team news has landed in front of me! Here's how the Potters will line up: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; N'Zonzi, Whelan; Arnautovic, Ireland, Walters; Crouch.
Hi there and welcome to LIVE text commentary of the Premier League clash between Stoke City and Southampton! I'm Livio Caferoglu and I'll be guiding you through the action as it happens from the Britannia Stadium.
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