TONY PULIS praised the spirit and commitment of Stoke City’s supporting cast after they inspired a dramatic late turnaround to clinch a third successive home win.
Substitute Cameron Jerome was the hero, setting up an 81st minute equaliser for Jonathan Walters and then lashing home a stunning winner four minutes later to stun Newcastle United in the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium.
But Pulis was also delighted with the impact made by City’s other substitutes and the contribution made by the supporters yet again in the closing stages.
“The spirit and commitment shown by those players really typifies what we have at this Football Club,” commented City’s manager after the 2-1 victory.
“The likes of Kenwyne and Cameron have been fantastic because they haven’t played much this season, but the spirit has been very good and their commitment to the group has been fantastic and it was there for all to see when they came on tonight.
“We’ve got a group of players who are disappointed when they are not playing, but they will give everything when they are given a chance to help the group.
“They could easily have come on and just jogged around or done what they wanted for themselves, but the effort they put in really lifted us when we needed it.”
He added: “It’s fantastic when you get that sort of response from players in that position because it shows the strength of depth which we have in the squad.”
Pulis was also quick to praise the supporters who drove the side on with chants of “attack, attack, attack, attack, attack” shortly after the substitutions.
“We must never under-estimate the part our fans play in the way we win games and the way that we do it at the Britannia Stadium,” he said. “I thought the substitutions lifted the crowd and they responded by getting right behind the team.
“When we got the equaliser, the belief in the crowd and the level of support was such that you just sensed we could go on and win the game.”
He added: “Up until then, we wondered if it wasn’t going to be our night because one or two things didn’t fall for us in their box in the first half.
“Then Asmir, who has been magnificent all season, uncharacteristically spills one straight after half time and they pounce on the loose ball to go in front, so once again you are left thinking that it’s going to be one of those nights.
“But it’s testament to the way the players have battled through a tough start to the season that they kept going and we got our reward in the end.”
Pulis revealed that striker Peter Crouch will probably need to undergo dental surgery after losing three teeth after a collision with Fabriccio Coliccini.
“Crouchy wanted to carry on until he saw a couple of his teeth in the doctor’s hands,” said City’s manager. “So he’ll need some work on that.”