Jerome screamer settles thriller
A stunning 90th-minute volley from Cameron Jerome secured a point for 10-man Stoke in a highly-eventful 3-3 draw with strugglers Southampton at the Britannia Stadium.
Poor defending allowed Rickie Lambert to open the scoring 10 minutes in and, although Kenwyne Jones soon equalised, Jay Rodriguez was presented with Saints' second in the 24th minute.
An Andy Wilkinson own goal in the 36th minute summed up a miserable first half for the hosts, but they responded in the second period and Matthew Upson pulled one back in the 67th minute. Steven Nzonzi was sent off soon after but Stoke kept pressing and got a late reward via Jerome, sending Southampton back into the bottom three.
Southampton scored in the 10th minute. It was the first chance of the game and would have infuriated Stoke boss Tony Pulis as none of his defenders cut out Guly Do Prado's cross and Lambert had the simple task of poking in at the back post.
The hosts should have been level inside two minutes when Nzonzi's shot was deflected to Jones in space at the back post, but somehow he skewed his shot wide. However, the big striker made amends in the 16th minute in some style with a lovely backheel from Ryan Shotton's low cross.
Stoke looked the more likely to add to their tally at that point but they well and truly shot themselves in the foot to hand Southampton a second goal in the 24th minute. There did not look too much danger when Lambert swung in a cross from the right but Robert Huth beat his goalkeeper to the ball and poked it against the bar, leaving Rodriguez a tap-in.
Jason Puncheon played a key part in Saints' third goal after 36 minutes, with his cross headed towards goal by Lambert before Wilkinson stabbed it over the line.
Stoke pulled one back as for once Southampton failed to deal with a corner and Upson squeezed his shot under Kelvin Davis, who should have done better.
The Potters hopes of getting something from the game were then dealt a real blow when Nzonzi was shown a straight red card in the 71st minute for a challenge on Jack Cork. The midfielder caught Cork with a painful blow but it looked a harsh decision and Nzonzi was clearly unhappy as he left the pitch.
But Jerome crashed in a tremendous shot off the underside of the bar as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, and Stoke might even have won it but Davis kept out a Peter Crouch header at the death.