London Saints

Saints 1-1 Stoke City

Rickie Lambert equalises against Stoke City

Rickie Lambert equalises against Stoke City

Boruc was either unwell or unwilling to take on Stoke in the last game of the campaign so Kelvin Davis ended it as he had started – as first choice custodian.

It was opposite number Begovic who was first in action, just managing to touch Lallana’s shot onto the post in the opening minute. Saints fans were cheering nevertheless as Lambert hit home the rebound from a tight angle, but unfortunately from an offside position as well.

From then on, though, the brightest thing in the half was the visitors’ hi-viz socks as Saints once more struggled to create serious problems for a team content to allow them most of the possession.

Stoke then applied the sucker punch just after the restart, with Crouch getting in front of Fonte to head his side in front. Begovic had been beaten three times at the Britannia Stadium, but also managed several stops with his legs to secure his side a point, and a number of similar saves threatened to gain all three in this game. However, his luck did run out eventually and Lambert scored his 15th, and probably easiest, goal of a productive season from the rebound after a Begovic had kept out Davis.

Saints had Chambers and Isgrove on the bench, and may have been tempted to use them had the game been won, but instead we introduced Puncheon, Ward-Prowse and Mayuka in a bid to break the deadlock while Stoke came up with the venerable Michael Owen.

Despite this, the game drifted comfortably to its conclusion and a deserved place in the graveyard slot on Match of the Day – usually Wigan’s position, but maybe Stoke are making an early bid for next year’s programmes. Bizarrely, manager Pulis blamed the hot weather, which came as surprise for those who had braved May’s chills.

LSSC Man of the Match: Nathaniel Clyne. Clyne has often been overshadowed by Shaw, but he’s only just turned 22 himself and has had an excellent first Premier League season.

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