Stoke City 1-1 Saints
Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic became the second Stoke player to get a touch after Saints had kicked off at the Britannia Stadium, but as the first had been a backpass, he was reduced to a fly-hack downfield. Meanwhile Artur Boruc was having a few thoughts about the real action still to come, and by the time he realised the threat posed by a combination of Begovic’s clearance and a strong wind, it was nearly too late – and then a slight slip made a bizarre opening goal inevitable.
I doubt whether Boruc has ever heard of Campbell Forsyth but there may be some YouTube footage somewhere of the former Saints stopper being similarly embarrassed by a young Peter Shilton 40-odd years ago – in fact three goalkeepers have now scored against Saints in my time, including Mark Crossley with a header after a corner.
So that’s most of the match report taken up by the first 13 seconds, and frankly it was that that kind of game.
Goal-shy Stoke caused more problems than expected early on, driven forward by the gale, but Saints managed to level the scores by the interval; a sequence of quick passes ended by Ward-Prowse’s deep cross which found Rodriguez unmarked, and while the finish with a downward header that bounced clear of Begovic may not have been quite what he had intended, it was successful.
Aided by the elements, we rather expected Saints to go on to win after the turn-round, but it doesn’t often work like that at the top level, and we had to wait until added time for the clearest opportunity to go ahead – Lambert chose to feed substitute Ramirez rather than shoot, only for the substitute to be frustrated by the arm of Begovic and an offside flag that proved to be wildly incorrect.
Such is the optimism that has been generated by the team’s form in the first quarter of the campaign, most visiting fans were regarding this as two points dropped rather than one gained.
LSSC Man of the Match: Victor Wanyama. Saints were reportedly expecting a physical battle against the Potters, but it’s a brave midfielder who takes on Victor in that department..