Saints beaten but finish eighth

By SFC Media Sun 21 May Saints vs Stoke
Sun 21 May 3.00PM
Premier League
Southampton
0
Stoke City
1
Crouch [60']
Boufal (70') Stephens (90')
Allen (53') Whelan (63') Sobhi (67') Shaqiri (90')
Referee: Lee Probert | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 31,286

Southampton held onto eighth position in the Premier League, despite suffering a 1-0 home defeat to Stoke City on the final day of the season.

Former Saints striker Peter Crouch decided matters with a towering second-half header, but results elsewhere meant that Claude Puel’s side held onto their spot in the league.

It means a fourth consecutive season in which the club have now finished inside the top eight of the division.

Puel made two changes from the side that drew 0-0 with Manchester United on Wednesday night, as Ryan Bertrand returned at left-back in place of Matt Targett, while Charlie Austin started his first match since December, in place of Manolo Gabbiadini, who dropped to the bench.

It was a fast start to the game, with Stoke launching an attack within the opening minute that ended with Fraser Forster beating away Mame Biram Diouf’s angled shot at the near post.

Saints went straight up the other end and nearly opened up the visitors’ backline, but Bertrand’s low ball across the face of goal was just out of the reach of a sliding Austin.

The hosts were indebted to Cédric later in the half, as he raced back to deny former Southampton striker Crouch with a superb last-ditch tackle, after some defensive hesitancy had allowed the Stoke forward to escape in behind.

Steven Davis then had to do similar five minutes from the interval, as Xherdan Shaqiri broke into space down the inside-left, only to be denied by the sliding Saints midfielder.

Stoke went close again in added time, as Diouf looped a header goalwards, but Cédric was perfectly positioned to nod it off the line.

Seconds later, Stoke keeper Jack Butland got in trouble outside of his area and was dispossessed by Redmond, who turned 30 yards out and chipped the ball over the back-tracking stopper, only for his effort to hit the bar and go over.

Five minutes into the second half Saints did have the ball in the net, as Dušan Tadić played Austin in to rifle home, but he was denied by an offside flag.

Unfortunately for Saints, there was no intervention from the officials at the other end on the hour mark, as Geoff Cameron whipped in a superb cross to the back post and Crouch jumped highest to head the ball into the far corner and put Stoke 1-0 up.

Puel responded by sending on Manolo Gabbiadini and Sofiane Boufal, in place of Austin and Tadić.

Saints were then denied by a superb double save from Butland in the 73rd minute, as he first flung himself in the way of a close-range effort from Steven Davis before getting back on his feet to turn away James Ward-Prowse’s follow-up.

The hosts then had another golden opportunity to level ten minutes from the end, as Davis chipped a beautiful ball in behind to free Gabbiadini, but Butland saved from him one-on-one.

The Stoke keeper was in inspired form and he made another brilliant stop shortly after from Boufal, who had cut onto his left foot in the area, before denying Gabbiadini at the back post from the resulting corner.

Puel made his final change with just under five minutes left, as Ward-Prowse was replaced by Jérémy Pied, but, try as they might, Saints could not find a way past Stoke’s stubborn resistance.

Match sponsor: Garmin
Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Stoke City
  • Possession (%)
    61
    39
  • Shots
    15
    14
  • Shots on target
    6
    3
  • Corners
    4
    10
  • Passes Complete
    431
    239

Southampton

1
Fraser Forster (GK)
2
Cédric Soares
3
Maya Yoshida
24
Jack Stephens
21
Ryan Bertrand
11
Dusan Tadic
Sofiane Boufal (65′)
14
Oriol Romeu
22
Nathan Redmond
16
James Ward-Prowse
Jérémy Pied (86′)
8
Steven Davis (C)
10
Charlie Austin
Manolo Gabbiadini (65′)
26
Jérémy Pied
12
Martín Cáceres
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
4
Jordy Clasie
19
Sofiane Boufal
28
Stuart Taylor
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg

Stoke City

1
Jack Butland (GK)
17
Ryan Shawcross (C)
15
Bruno Martins Indi
20
Geoff Cameron
6
Glenn Whelan
3
Erik Pieters
4
Joe Allen
18
Mame Biram Diouf
Jonathan Walters (70′)
22
Xherdan Shaqiri
Marc Muniesa (92′)
32
Ramadan Sobhi
25
Peter Crouch
2
Phil Bardsley
5
Marc Muniesa
33
Lee Grant
9
Saido Berahino
16
Charlie Adam
72
Thomas Edwards
19
Jonathan Walters
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