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Southampton twice surrendered the lead in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Stoke City at St Mary's Stadium.
Goals from Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis put the hosts ahead, but they were pegged back on each occasion through Peter Odemwingie's maiden strike for Stoke and Peter Crouch's close-range effort shortly before half-time.
Lambert delighted the home fans on six minutes when he bent home a peach of a free-kick from an acute angle, only for Odemwingie to level after a superb through-ball from Charlie Adam. In a manic end to the opening half, Southampton retook the lead in bizarre circumstances when a cross from Davis deceived everyone and went into the far corner, but Stoke hit back immediately with Crouch scoring from a corner.
Southampton created the better opportunities in the second half, but Stoke held firm to claim a rare point on their travels. The result extends Southampton's unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions, while Stoke continue to search for a second away league win this term.
The hosts pressed right from the off and were swiftly rewarded with the opening goal. Adam was penalised for handball on the left edge of the penalty area, and Lambert made him pay by bending a superb free-kick into the far top corner.
Despite that early setback, Stoke responded in a positive manner, albeit without initially threatening Artur Boruc. A lack of clear-cut chances for the visitors nearly cost them dear on 28 minutes when Davis led a swift breakaway and played in Nathaniel Clyne, who was denied by a good stop from Asmir Begovic.
That miss was punished as Stoke levelled on 38 minutes. Odemwingie latched on to Adam's defence-splitting pass and kept his composure to open his account for the club with a first-time shot past Boruc.
Southampton were back in the lead three minutes later, as Davis's cross from the left missed everyone and bounced into the far corner. Yet there was time for one last twist before the interval as Crouch bundled home Adam's 44th-minute corner.
The hosts started the second half in a fluid manner and Jay Rodriguez could have done better with a free header from Davis' corner on 50 minutes. Southampton continued to push forward, but Ryan Shawcross typified Stoke's resiliency by rushing to block a shot from Lambert on the edge of the box.
As the game entered its closing stages, Southampton controlled possession and Morgan Schneiderlin almost found the winner when he side-footed into the side netting at the back post with seven minutes remaining.
Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino: "We deserved to win that game, taking into account we took the lead twice in the game. The final result is disappointing.
"We were facing a very tough opponent and the most physical side in the Premier League. We were creating most of the chances and were unlucky not to get the third goal.
"Overall, we were superior to Stoke. The result does not reflect the superiority."
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: "We had a fantastic result last weekend with our first win over Manchester United in 30-odd years and it would have been a real disappointment if we hadn't got something out of this game. It's important that we get a run going and I was really, really pleased with what we produced.
"I felt we were the better side in the first half, albeit we went behind twice during that time. We showed great character and no little skill to get back on level terms and then in the second half both teams cancelled each other out.
"As an away team that's a good thing because we restricted a very good Southampton team, a side I've enjoyed watching this season, to very few clear-cut chances. That shows the quality of our performance."
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|12 Apr 2014||v Cardiff (H)|
|11 May 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
|29 Mar 2014||v Newcastle (H)|
|23 Mar 2014||v Spurs (A)|