Despite leading 3-1 at one point and having a man advantage for the final 20 minutes, Southampton couldn't hold on and were forced to settle for a draw against Stoke.
No Ryan Shawcross or Geoff Cameron and down a goal and a man with less that 20 minutes to play? No problem. It certainly looked like Stoke were set to lose for the first time at home this season with their normally stout defense a mess and having had a man sent off. However, a late screamer from Cameron Jerome saved the Potters and left Southampton wondering what went wrong.
Southampton jumped out to a lead in the 10th minute as Guilherme Do Prado took advantage of some space left by the Stoke defense to send a curling cross to the far post where Ricky Lambert was waiting. Lambert had sneaked in behind two defenders and easily toe poked-the ball past Asmir Begovic.
Stoke fought back immediately, nearly pulling the goal back less than a minute later. Steven Nzonzi's shot from outside the box was deflected by a West Ham player and went right to Kenwayne Jones, all alone at the far post. Jones tried to chip the ball over him from short range and sent his shot over the crossbar.
Stoke equalized in the 16th minute as Jones didn't waste a second chance. A short throw in to Ryan Shotton started the play as the defender found space on the right side of the box before sending a cross in towards goal. Jones was setup six yards in front of the net and cleverly re-directed the ball with a back heel flick, beating a helpless Kelvin Davis.
Southampton struck back in the 24th minute after another defensive lapse by the normally organized Stoke. Again, Soton found space outside the box and sent the ball in to the danger area. This time, the ball was tipped off the cross bar by Stoke's Robert Huth before rebounding right to Jay Rodriguez who calmly put the ball in the open net, moving the Saints back in front 2-1.
Stoke's inability to deal with crosses hurt them again in the 37th minute. Jason Puncheon's cross from the right side in to the box was headed down by Lambert towards Rodriguez in front of goal. In a desperate attempt to prevent the ball from getting to the Southampton forward, Stoke defender Andy Wilkinson deflected the ball past his own goalkeeper to put the Saints up 3-1.
Stoke pulled a goal back in the 66th minute off a corner kick. The initial free kick in was chested down by a Soton player, right to Jones whose shot was blocked but left loose in the box. Matthew Upson came sliding in on the ball, managing to direct it off the keeper and in to the net. It was a deserved goal from Stoke who had looked much more dangerous in the second half.
In the 71st minute, Steven Nzoni was sent off after coming in late and stamping on Southampton Jack Cork. Cork is lucky that Nzozni only clipped his leg with the stamp or he might have suffered a serious injury. There was far more intent than actual contact and that is likely what referee Mark Clattenburg dismissed Nzonzi for.
Jerome did actually put the ball in the net in the 88th minute with a lovely chip finish. Unfortunately for Stoke, Jerome was two body lengths offside and the assistant referee flagged him right away. He would get another chance.
In the 90th minute, Stoke found their unlikely equalizer as Jerome unleashed a missile from 30-plus yards out that neatly tucked itself in the upper corner of the goal. Peter Crouch set up the chance, keeping the ball alive and giving Jerome the space to step up and shoot.