Saddlers leave Crawley sore

BY foxsports • March 16, 2013

Tony Pulis insisted Premier League survival would represent a "great" season for Stoke City after seeing his side's poor run of form extended to one win in 11 with a drab 0-0 draw against West Bromwich Albion.

The Potters have endured a torrid second half of the season, prompting sections of the club's support to voice their discontent.

Pulis said he understands their frustration but, after another tepid display, he was adamant expectations must remain tempered.

"The basic line is we should never ever get complacent about being in the Premier League," he said. "We need another six points [to secure safety] and if we do that, it has been another great season for the club.

"There has been bits of moaning and groaning around the place, but the supporters were fantastic today. They really got behind us. They were fabulous.

"You have to accept if supporters are not happy - they pay their money. But staying in the Premier League every year is a massive success."

The draw took Stoke to within two wins of the 40-point mark that is normally seen to represent safety.

Pulis knows his team are lacking confidence and insists a lucky break is all they need to help them return to form.

"We need a break," he explained. "I watched the Everton game [against Manchester City on Saturday] and saw the [Leon] Osman strike - we need something like that. We need a win to give us confidence.

"It [the draw with West Brom] was a very tight game. It gets us off 33 points, which has been a rope around our neck.

"The magic number is always 40 so we have got to get another six points and if we do that I will be delighted.

"It is going to get tighter as the season goes on. We need a couple of wins. We need a break, more than anything else."

The Reds led 3-0 after 34 minutes with Molyneux firing home from 20 yards on eight minutes after picking up a loose ball in midfield.

The winger doubled Stanley's advantage after 25 minutes when he collected the ball 25 yards out and, with nothing on, rifled it into the roof of the net.

It was three in the 34th minute after Francis Jeffers was clean through and Chiro N'Toko fouled him in the area. Molyneux slotted home the penalty with N'Toko lucky to escape with a yellow card.

Barnet pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time with Elliott Johnson belting the ball into the roof of the net after a goalmouth scramble.

Ross Jenkins reduced the deficit to one with a spectacular overhead kick from Barry Fuller's 63rd-minute cross.

In a tense finale Edgar Davids saw red after 87 minutes for a second bookable offence, having also been sent off against Stanley at Underhill earlier this season.

Star man Jamie Paterson cut Crawley's lead with a deflected shot in the 89th minute, and in the third minute of stoppage time Will Grigg drove in the equaliser from Andy Taylor's cross for his 19th of the season.

It was devastating for Crawley who looked certain winners when Jamie Proctor gave them a 52nd-minute lead with a rising drive and Paul Hayes added a second from close in on 71 minutes.

But the Saddlers showed their never-say-die attitude to salvage a vital point.

In the first half Paterson was denied by Town keeper Paul Jones while Nicky Adams' curler was headed clear by home skipper Andy Butler.


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