Crouch shows there is no substitute for goals
How Saido Berahino must crave a little of Peter Crouch’s goalscoring knack. The 24-year-old Stoke striker does not have a senior goal to his name since February 2016, and even the gift of a penalty kick could not end his nightmare run.
Crouch, on the other hand, keeps ticking along, even in his 37th year.
As Berahino was substituted with 20 minutes left, cursing his luck after Fraser Forster’s save from the spotkick had left him frustrated again, Crouch replaced him and grabbed an 85th-minute winner.
Starts for Crouch have been rare lately but he already has three goals this season, two of them after coming on as a substitute.
It was his goal that saved Stoke a point at Berahino’s former club, West Bromwich Albion, in August. “We all feel for Saido, of course,” Mark Hughes, the Stoke manager, said.
“Everyone is willing him to score and you have to give him credit for having the personality to grab the ball and take the kick.
“He is working hard and is just looking for a break.
“I’m sure when he gets a goal, he will be up and running. Peter – even at 36 his attributes have not waned. I frustrate him at times because he wants to start, but when he comes on late in a game he will always give the opposition defence a problem.”
Crouch’s goal came after Southampton had played themselves back into the game after a first half in which they had the bulk of possession, but could not match the goal threat of Stoke, who went ahead when Mame Biram Diouf headed home from a corner after 40 minutes.
Berahino’s miss came only a couple of minutes later after Virgil van Dijk – starting for Southampton for the first time in nine months after his stand-off with the club over his failed move to Liverpool – pulled at Berahino just enough to bring him down.
The miss looked like it could be expensive when Maya Yoshida volleyed home in some style after Shane Long had flicked on substitute Sofiane Boufal’s cross with 15 minutes left.
But inside the last five minutes, Maxim ChoupoMoting had a close-range shot blocked by Forster but managed a second attempt while lying on the floor and Crouch turned the ball into the net.