Tom turns in an Ince perfect comeback
STOKE dangerman Tom Ince promised there was “more to come” from him after he came flying back from a hernia operation.
And yesterday the winger delivered his third strike in three games to keep the Potters in touch with the promotion-chasing pack.
Midfield maestro Joe Allen cracked home a no-nonsense second after 60 minutes to deflate an Ipswich outfit that has chalked up only one win all season.
It was agony for former Stoke boss Paul Lambert, making his first return since taking over at the division’s bottom club.
Lambert admitted it had been “an emotional return to a great club” but added: “I honestly thought we were the better team. I’m really proud of them.
“It was a great performance against a side that will be there or thereabouts.
“Joe Allen is a top player and young Jack Lankester was beaten by a one-two for Joe’s goal but he will learn and go on to be a top player himself.”
Stoke boss Gary Rowett said: “It was a good result and the two goals were real quality, perhaps the only real quality out there.
“We have to be better but we’re back on track and we got the points.”
There was drama before kick-off when an automated announcement told the near-25,000 crowd to clear the stadium before it was revealed that it was a mistake, sparking a club inquiry into the mishap.
Then ref Geoff Eltringham went off injured after 37 minutes with fourth official Anthony Backhouse taking over.
Ince had flashed a warning of his intent. A low effort was blocked, he ballooned over with his next effort then made his third effort count in first-half added-on time.
A beautifully threaded pass from Ryan Woods set him up and Ince kept his composure to slide the ball past exposed keeper Dean Gerken.
Allen’s goal was simplicity itself as Erik Pieters set him up with a perfect pass, the little midfielder turning the ball home past the exposed Gerken.
RALPH HASENHUTTL had urged people looking for guarantees to buy washing machines – but his first game in charge ended with him being put through the Neil Warnock spin-dryer.
The Southampton boss – dubbed the Klopp of the Alps – also wants to be someone other than his Liverpool lookalike. Maybe he should choose Warnock.
This was a filthy, dark day in South Wales when the cycle setting had to be set to heavily soiled – the kind of afternoon the Bluebirds boss was born for.
But Southampton were just far too pure and lilywhite for the task.
By the time they fell behind to Callum Paterson’s ludicrous goal – after a horrible error from Jannik Vestergaard – Southampton were already looking far too pristine when they really should have been mud-splattered.
New manager bounce? Someone took all the springs from the Saints’ trampoline.
Austrian Hasenhuttl might have expected more of the grimy and gritty work required when you are mired in the relegation zone but got the same kind of flat, passionless display that earned Mark Hughes the sack.
The only danger was that Cardiff might have paid a price for missing so many first-half chances and have to settle for a point.
But once they went ahead they were hardly troubled by the Saints.
Hasenhuttl said: “I always said we would either win or learn – and here we absolutely learned.
“It’s not easy to play here, in a very passionate and emotional atmosphere but I was not disappointed with what my team showed me.
“That’s the basics. The rest will come in the next few weeks.
“After half-time was the best period of the game for us.
“We had a lot of pressure and we were good with the ball but we played too much from deep and inside instead of penetrating them.
“We need more forward runs in the coming months and less mistakes in the defence.”
The clanger Southampton dropped with 16 minutes to go was decisive.
Referee Jon Moss played a brilliant advantage instead of giving a foul on Victor Camarasa by Oriol Romeu but what happened afterwards was a Danish disaster by Vestergaard.
His back pass was pitiful and gave Paterson the perfect chance to score his fourth goal of the season – not bad for a makeshift striker who was signed as a right-back.
“It gets intense at the end of the game which makes it more important to stay focused and do the easy things,” added Hasenhuttl.
“But the ball wasn’t difficult to deal with and I think Jannik is very disappointed about that.
“The points are gone and now we have to focus on the next games.
“I said a few words to the group – the mentality was okay and the support was fantastic.
“The team is trying to get out of this and they invested a lot today but it’s not enough at the moment.”
It might have been a different story
■ SINGING IN RAIN: Callum Paterson is delighted with his winner