By 90Min
September 30, 2017

Stoke City ended their three game losing streak in all competitions against Southampton after Peter Crouch tapped home the winner in the dying stages of the match, following Maya Yoshida's exquisite volley which levelled the scores for the visitors mid-way through the second-half.

A powerful headed goal from Mame Biram Diouf opened the scoring at the Bet365 Stadium on Saturday, but their victory could have been a lot more straightforward had Saido Berahino not missed his penalty after being brought down in the box. 

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Despite coming into the game on the back of three straight defeats, Stoke started positively as they penned Southampton in their own half for much of the opening 10 minutes, as the visitors lack of movement up-field offered no outlet to relieve the pressure. 

The Potters looked to target the returning Virgil van Dijk in the hope of capitalising on any mistake arising from a lack of first team football, but the Dutch defender stood up to the test with little concern early-on.

Despite the Saints managing to grapple back possession and control of proceedings, it was Stoke who forced the first save of the match through Xherdan Shaqiri whose powerful shot off his favoured left-boot had to be palmed away by Fraser Forster. 

However, Stoke's start was as quick as their retreat as they allowed the Saints to gain the ascendancy, with both Nathan Redmond and Shane Long coming close to breaking the deadlock after being on the receiving end of two brilliant through balls - with only their finishing letting the pair down.

Although having been warned, Mark Hughes's side continued to sit back allowing Southampton to push forward with only their final delivery ensuring the home side got off lightly, which opened the door for the Potters to take advantage of on the counter - to which they duly obliged moments before the break. 

A corner which resulted from excellent build-up play led to the first goal of the match as sloppy defending allowed an unmarked Mame Biram Diouf to power the ball into the back of the net, as his thumping header left Forster with no chance of saving it. 

A goal against play had Southampton frazzled as only moments later a dangling leg from van Dijk brought Berahino down in the box, a clear penalty which was then poorly taken by the English striker as the Saints stopper parried the ball away with ease - a clear chance to double the lead squandered as Berahino's long wait for a Stoke goal continued.  

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A tame opening to the second-half was filled by a plethora of yellow cards handed out to visibly frustrated Southampton players as their early peppering of the goal only resulted in crosses launched towards Long, who was unable to reach the ball at the right height to cause Jack Butland any kind of trouble.

As the Saints dominated possession in the middle of the park, Stoke sat back comfortably as a lack of goal mouth pressure failed to cause any immediate concern for the Potters defence.  

However, just as proceedings looked comfortable for Stoke the Saints levelled the scores through an unlikely source, as Maya Yoshida's superb volley from the penalty area was smashed into the back of the net - making Butland nothing but a helpless bystander. 

With the game now entering the final 10 minutes, Southampton appeared to be the more likely to take the lead such was their dominance with the ball, but Stoke substitute Crouch had other ideas as a goal mouth scramble saw the ball land at the strikers feet, with only a simple tap in required.

The home fans were sent into momentary delirium before the Saints quickly restarted the game and piled the pressure on the Potters back-line, ensuring hearts were in the mouth as another equaliser looked to be on the cards as the game came to a scrappy end.  

The three points will come as a major relief to Mark Hughes as his side enter the international break with their first league win in four attempts. Whilst Southampton will be left to rue a host of missed opportunities, as their inability to finish chances has led to back-to-back league defeats. 

A trip to clinical Manchester City now awaits Stoke City, whilst Mauricio Pellegrino's side will host Newcastle after the break.

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