Jones: Pride inspired Stoke fightback

Kenwyne Jones says pride propelled Stoke to a dramatic late comeback in the 3-3 draw against Southampton.

Last Updated: 30/12/12 at 13:16 Post Comment

Kenwyne Jones flicks home against Southampton

Kenwyne Jones flicks home against Southampton

Pride propelled Stoke to a dramatic late comeback in the 3-3 draw against Southampton, according to striker Kenwyne Jones.

The Potters went into the game having conceded only four times at home in nine previous Barclays Premier League games and on the back of victory over Liverpool, but shipped three in the first 36 minutes against the Saints.

Jones briefly brought the scores level at 1-1 with a neat backheel, his third goal in four games, but it was in the second half where Stoke really showed their spirit and determination.

Matthew Upson made it 3-2 in the 67th minute and, although Steven Nzonzi was sent off shortly afterward, the hosts kept pushing and got their reward in the 90th minute when Cameron Jerome crashed a brilliant 30-yard volley in off the bar.

Jones, who is keeping Peter Crouch out of the side, said: "I think in the second half we needed to come out and show some pride, not just for ourselves, but for the fans. I think we were on a great run and we paid the price for a slow start.

"We haven't been conceding that many all season and it was a shock to the system that we started like that. Everyone picked themselves up in the second half and we came out and saved the game."

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was furious with Mark Clattenburg's decision to send off Nzonzi for a challenge on Jack Cork.

It was certainly an ill-advised tackle but the midfielder did not actually appear to make contact with his opponent, although Cork's reaction told a different story.

Pulis criticised Cork after the match, and Jones said: "I believe he (Nzonzi) got sent off for the action because in no way did he touch the guy.

"In football nowadays, you can't do stuff like that and he paid the price. I think it was a bit too much by the player to be rolling around like that when he didn't get touched."

The point made it 10 games unbeaten for eighth-placed Stoke, who have not lost at home in the Premier League since February 4.

Like Jones, Jerome has often had to make do with opportunities off the bench, and the Trinidadian praised his fellow forward for what will certainly be a contender for goal of the season.

"All credit to Cameron for coming on and saving the game," said Jones. "He's been working hard in training and he deserved his goal.

"I hope it's goal of the season. I'll be happy for him if it is. It was a wonderful strike, a wonderful goal and it saved us a point."

Defensive stability has been key to Stoke this season but they were forced into changes yesterday with captain Ryan Shawcross and full-back Geoff Cameron suspended, so Upson and Ryan Shotton came in.

The Potters were also missing full-back Marc Wilson, who broke his leg in October, and Pulis said: "We were three top players short, so it was always going to be difficult.

"Matty hasn't played for ages and obviously you want centre-halves to get used to playing with one another. It took him 45 minutes to find his feet but I'm pleased he got the goal, he's a great lad."

The result dropped Southampton back into the bottom three, but midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin felt it was a positive point even if it could easily have been more.

He said: "It was a crazy game. I think we are all a bit disappointed. When you look at the game we were 3-1 up, we could have scored the fourth one and we could have killed the game off.

"But I think before the game everyone would have been happy with one point and we need to take the good things. You don't have a tougher place to go in the league than Stoke City, and it's a good point."

Schneiderlin also admitted Saints were lucky to get away with what should have been a penalty after Fonte handled the ball in a challenge with Jones.

"I'm going to be honest and I'm going to tell you it was a handball," said the Frenchman. "But for the (third) Stoke City goal it was a handball as well, Peter Crouch controlled the ball with his hand, so it's 50-50."


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