Report - Swansea City 2-0 Stoke City
Sunday 2nd October 2011
Swansea City bounced back from last weekend's disappointing 4-1 defeat at Chelsea with a superb, battling 2-0 home win against Stoke City this afternoon.
Scott Sinclair gave Brendan Rodgers' side an early lead from the penalty spot, before Danny Graham netted his first Swansea goal late on to guarantee the three points which moves them up to 10th in the Premier League table.
With Leon Britton out injured, the Swansea boss was forced into making at least one change, bringing in Wayne Routledge for the in-form central midfielder, while Danny Graham also returned to the starting line-up in place of Leroy Lita after he missed last Saturday's defeat at Chelsea due to injury.
The Swans couldn't have started any better than they did as they found the opening goal within just 8 minutes. Joe Allen found Wayne Routledge but the former Newcastle United player was brought down following a poor tackle from the visiting captain Ryan Shawcross.
As expected, Scott Sinclair would be the man to step up to net from the penalty spot, finding the right bottom corner while the goalkeeper couldn't reach despite a good effort to do so at full stretch.
Stoke City had height throughout their starting line-up, and while it was a clash of two very contrasting footballing styles, Swansea's attractive one was so far proving to be more effective.
Tony Pulis' side, as we all know, resort to long throw-ins and set pieces aimed at the likes of the towering Peter Crouch, while the hosts couldn't be more different with their attacks, keeping the ball on the ground and looking to make breakthroughs in the final third with quick passing and movement.
Michel Vorm was forced into his first good save of the match with Jon Walters trying his luck from 25 yards. Delap also had a shot on goal but he blazed his chance over the bar. Stoke were also showing the physical side of their game very much so, as Wilkinson and Crouch picked up bookings in the opening half for high challenges on Dyer and Gower respectively.
The visitors looked to get the scores level again early in the second half as they put more pressure on the Swansea defence - who had their toughest home test of the season to date.
Whelan went closest when he saw his free-kick come back off the woodwork before substitute and former Cardiff City striker Cameron Jerome fired a shot over the crossbar.
There were chances at the other end also, with Sinclair doing very well to create an opening for himself - cutting in from the left before forcing the visitor's goalkeeper into making a great save to keep the scores at 1-0.
The winger had another chance to get his and Swansea's second goal of the game when he was brought down on the edge of the box, but his free-kick hit the wall.
Swansea City did brilliantly to battle through the second half as they handled Stoke's increased pressure well, and they eased it and surely guaranteed the three points with 5 minutes remaining. Danny Graham showed his delight to score his first goal for the club - and it was an excellent finish to fire it past Begovic after picked up a loose ball.
Brendan Rodgers would have been absolutely delighted to see his side win their second match of the season, not to mention as well that they also kept a fourth consecutive clean sheet at the Liberty Stadium this season in the Premier League.
What has barely been mentioned in this report was Stoke's thug-like nature, as they picked up five yellow cards during the game and could count themselves lucky for finishing the game with eleven men. The Swans, hardly the tallest side in the division, battled well and totally deserved the win, which amazingly takes us up to 10th in the table, level on points with the fellow promoted clubs - Norwich City and QPR - who both lost this weekend.
Swansea: Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Garry Monk (capt),Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Mark Gower, Joe Allen, Wayne Routledge (Luke Moore, 66), Nathan Dyer, Scott Sinclair, Danny Graham (Leroy Lita).
Unused subs: Gerhard Tremmel, Fede Bessone, Jazz Richards, Lee Lucas, Stephen Dobbie.
Stoke City: Asmir Begovic, Andy Wilkinson, Ryan Shawcross (capt), Jonathan Woodgate, Marc Wilson (Robert Huth, 32), Jermaine Pennant (Ryan Shotton, 80), Glenn Whelan, Dean Whitehead, Rory Delap (Cameron Jerome, 55), Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch.
Unused subs: Thomas Sorensen, Mamady Sidiby, Matthew Upson, Diedo Arismendi.