Premier League - Swansea dispose of Stoke

Sun, 02 Oct 16:58:00 2011

Swansea impressed in beating Stoke 2-0 in the Premier League at the Liberty Stadium.

Swansea 2 Stoke 0

Scott Sinclair dispatched an early penalty after Wayne Routledge was clearly fouled by Ryan Shawcross in the box.

Danny Graham made sure of the points with a cool finish with five minutes left, his first goal for the club.

Brendan Rodgers's Swans passed Stoke out of the game for long periods, while their defence held firm whenever Stoke threatened their box with barrages of aerial balls.

The opening half hour saw the three quick yellow-booted Swansea attackers Sinclair, Routledge and Nathan Dyer menace the Stoke backline constantly. It took them only nine minutes to break the deadlock: Shawcross committed a needless late tackle on Routledge following a clever Joe Allen ball down the channel, and Sinclair found the bottom corner with a crisp strike.

On 14 minutes Graham almost finished at the back post on the slide after Routledge had broken into the box from the left. Stoke were all over the place in midfield, but their defence did a good job to keep the Swansea forwards at bay for that opening 30 minutes or so.

At the other end, Jonathan Walters outmuscled Mark Gower on 21 minutes before dipping a volley that Michel Vorm touched on to the bar and over.

While Stoke were unable to penetrate Swansea's final third but peppered their box from deep, midfielder Andy Wilkinson was fortunate not to be sent off for a waist-high scissor tackle on Dyer on halfway which angered the Swansea bench and fans.

Stoke again sought to apply pressure on the home box in the second half, with Peter Crouch the target and Walters playing off him. The Potters hit the woodwork a second time on the hour mark when Glenn Whelan bent a low free-kick around the wall, the ball rebounding to safety off the post.

Swansea's woodwork has been rattled nine times this season, far more than any other team in the top flight.

Routledge committed one of a succession of free-kicks with a reckless tackle on Jermaine Pennant - Mark Gower was also booked for cynically kicking away Walters's legs as he broke over halfway - but the former Liverpool winger's delivery from set-pieces was poor throughout the afternoon.

Sinclair forced Begovic into a flying stop after coming inside Huth on the counter and Swansea then kept the ball better, with the former Chelsea forward forcing Pennant to floor him to prevent the chance of a second goal as he flew in between three Stoke players on the edge of the box.

That free-kick, like many others, was struck into the wall - but nine minutes later Swansea had that second goal.

Jonathan Woodgate was beaten by Graham in a challenge for a loose ball in midfield and the £3.5 million signing from Watford remained calm to score past Begovic as the keeper advanced to the edge of his box.

Substitute Cameron Jerome forced a save from Vorm with an injury-time header that Crouch could not finish on the rebound and a minute later the former Cardiff striker nodded past Vorm as he emerged recklessly to the edge of his box - but the ball ran out of play before he could finish it off.

Stoke have scored only four goals in their last nine league matches. They stay eighth in the table as their miserable run of away form continues - they have won just one of their last 14 league matches on the road.

Swansea have not been prolific either but have now scored a more respectable six goals in seven Premier League matches, and maintain their record of not conceding a home goal this season as they move up to 10th.

Jonathan Symcox - on Twitter: @jonathansymcox / Eurosport

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