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Stoke ease relegation fears with 3-1 win at Swansea

21 Feb 2023 3 minute read
Swansea City’s Morgan Whittaker scores the opener against Stoke. Photo Nick Potts PA Images

Stoke eased their relegation worries with a 3-1 win at Swansea as Josh Laurent delivered his first league goals for the Potters.

Laurent’s first-half double and a stoppage-time third from substitute Lewis Baker lifted Stoke two places to 17th in the Sky Bet Championship.

Morgan Whittaker had given Swansea the perfect start inside two minutes, but Russell Martin’s side ran out of ideas before Baker added the late icing to Stoke’s first away league win road since December 17. Swansea stay 12th.

The two clubs – relegated from the Premier League together in 2018 – have struggled to find a winning formula in the Championship over the last few months.

Swansea had registered three wins in 16 games, while Stoke’s recent record was only marginally better – three victories from 12 matches.

Rob Page

Wales manager Rob Page was in attendance with Swansea midfielder Ollie Cooper on his radar ahead of next month’s Euro 2024 qualifiers against Croatia and Latvia.

Cooper made an instant impact with a driving run that ended with Ryan Manning being fouled.

Stoke failed to clear the following free-kick and Whittaker, making his first league start for Swansea since May 2021, chested down Matty Sorinola’s pass and fired home off the underside of the crossbar.

Laurent brought parity by bundling home from close range after 15 minutes following some pinball in the Swansea penalty area.

Four minutes later Laurent was celebrating again after Tyrese Campbell had cut the ball back into his path. He was left completely unmarked 15 yards out and made no mistake with a clinical finish.

Matija Sarkic’s superb one-handed stop denied Joel Piroe an equaliser, and the Stoke goalkeeper also held onto a Manning effort as home pressure grew.

Swansea boss Martin made a tactical switch on 31 minutes, withdrawing central defender Harry Darling for midfielder Olivier Ntcham and switching to four at the back.

The ploy appeared to have little effect initially as Dwight Gayle forced Andy Fisher into a double save by his near post.

But Stoke were sliced open as Matt Grimes, Cooper and Manning combined to create a chance which Whittaker sidefooted wide.

Former Swansea loanee Ben Wilmot had the opportunity to punish his old club, but the central defender sent a free header wide from a few yards out.

There was no flow to the start of the second half as the contest was punctuated by countless fouls and a rash of yellow cards.

Referee Andy Woolmer was in danger of relinquishing control and Stoke lost Campbell after the striker suffered a heavy fall with his head taking the impact.

A stretcher was called for, but Campbell returned to his feet and continued for a few minutes before being substituted much to his displeasure.

Fisher produced smart saves to foil Gayle and Jordan Thompson before Stoke’s superiority was further rewarded when Jacob Brown scampered clear to set up Baker.

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