Pulis relieved to hold on to win
Published 10/02/2013 | 08:16
Stoke manager Tony Pulis would have been "absolutely devastated" if his side had been denied their first Barclays Premier League victory of 2013 on Saturday afternoon.
The Potters, whose previous top-flight win had come on Boxing Day, beat Reading 2-1 at the Britannia Stadium having dominated much of the contest but been forced to endure a nervy finale. Reading remain 17th in the table, two points clear of the relegation zone, while Stoke stay 10th.
After seeing his team hang on for the victory - unlike in their previous home outing, when they had squandered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Wigan - Pulis said: "It has been a long time. I thought we deserved to win the game - I would have been absolutely devastated if we hadn't won the game today."
After Stoke defender Robert Huth had opened the scoring with a 67th-minute header, a fierce strike from substitute Cameron Jerome with nine minutes of normal time remaining appeared to make three points safe for the hosts.
But Adrian Mariappa nodded in two minutes later for the Royals, who had scored a host of important late goals in their recent unbeaten sequence of four league games. And Reading might have completed another dramatic comeback if referee Michael Oliver had not waved away Adam Le Fondre's penalty appeals in the dying moments.
Pulis added: "After the first half I thought we deserved to be coming in leading, but we just picked the pace up and the two subs (Jerome and Kenwyne Jones) made a great difference again. Cameron Jerome is a great impact player and he scored a great goal."
Regarding the Le Fondre incident - where the in-form striker went down in the box under the attentions of Ryan Shotton - Pulis said: "Firstly I was told it was a penalty, then I've just been told (you can see) it actually isn't from a different angle - that the lad isn't caught, but just arches his back and falls over. But if it was a penalty, I have to say thank goodness we have had a break, because we deserve one."
Reading boss Brian McDermott had no doubt what he thought about the penalty claim. "Once we got to 2-1, I thought we would get it (a draw), and unfortunately the ref has missed a penalty at the end, the last kick of the game," McDermott said.
"He got hold of the ball, flicked it by him and he caught him. It was a stonewall penalty. I've just gone in to see him (Oliver) and he didn't see it that way, so that's fine, but I thought it was.
"Sometimes as a manager you get those things - with the last kick of the game, it would have been great to get the point. We hung in there and showed great resilience and desire. This is not an easy place to come to, which everyone knows."
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