Xherdan Shaqiri scored another stunning goal as Stoke finally ended a five-game winless streak with a 3-1 victory over relegation-threatened Hull.
The Potters came into this contest on the back of four consecutive defeats but they were handed the perfect start when Marko Arnautovic made the break through after only six minutes and the hosts continued to dominate the opening stages of the game.
Stoke had scored only four times in their last 10 matches prior to today, and it felt like it could one of those days in front of goal as Arnautovic spurned two further glorious opportunities.
And it was Hull who grabbed the game’s all-important second goal just after the break when Harry Maguire capitalised on some poor defending as he finished coolly from a corner to level the scores.
The set-back prompted under-pressure Stoke manager Mark Hughes to make a double substitution as Jon Walters and Peter Crouch entered the fray and the pair teamed up almost immediately to give the home side the lead as Crouch headed home from his team mate’s inch-perfect cross.
Hull pushed for an equaliser as Oumar Niasse missed a couple of gilt-edged chances and the strugglers were made to pay when Shaqiri, who has only recently recovered from injury, sealed the points with a sensational 25-yard strike.
Victory means Stoke move to 11th place while Swansea’s defeat to Watford allows Hull to remain just two points above the drop zone.
Mark Hughes’ second-half substitutions pay dividends – A section of Stoke fans have become increasingly frustrated with the Welshman after a horrendous run of results but even the harshest critic has to take their hat off to the Potters’ boss today. The hosts were only running through the motions when Hughes opted for an ultra-attacking formation with half an hour to play and his decision paid off as Walters and Crouch combined to give the hosts an invaluable lead.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Xherdan Shaqiri (Stoke) – The Potters desperately missed their star man during his recent absence but the Swiss international has returned at just the right time to revive Stoke’s top 10 ambitions
Stoke: Grant 8; Shawcross 7, Martins Indi 7, Muniesa 6; Johnson 7, Cameron 6, Adam 6, Pieters 5; Shaqiri 8, Berahino 6, Arnautovic 7. Subs: Diouf N/A, Crouch 8, Walters 8.
Hull: Jakupovic 6, Robertson 7, Maguire 7, Huddlestone 7, N'Diaye 6, Ranocchia 6, Clucas 6, Grosicki 6, Dawson 6, Niasse 5, Markovic 6. Subs: Elmohamady N/A, Mbokani N/A, Hernandez 5.
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