STOKE CITY FC 2 SWANSEA CITY 0
Stoke got down to business today,business as used to be usual.We registered our first win at home since mid December.scored two good goals in the first half,could have had more in the second,but importantly pressured our visitors ,most of the time disrupting their free flowing passing game.Perhaps this match represents the beginnings of a return to Fortress Britannia.
Manager Pulis is a canny fellow.The team that he put out,featured 11 changes from Thursday night in Valencia.Well rested they certainly were,with much energetic scampering about,far removed from some of the jaded lethargic looking efforts that we have witnessed of late.Its true to say that again we didn't really get any breaks,but what was different was that we didn't have any go against us.
Begovic,back in goal,had very little to do,apart from two telling interventions,one in each half.In the first half he came out fearlessly into a congested penalty box to punch a dangerous cross away imperiously, flooring a visiting striker into the bargain.Right at the end of the second a marvellous reflex save saw the ball deflect onto our bar and away to safety.
Wilkinson kept star flanker Sinclair very quiet,while Wilson had more of a struggle with the tricky Dyer on the right.Upson and Shawcross were solid at the centre of defence.Etherington is not the force that he was last season,for whatever reason,but his contributions from set plays are still vital.Today his cornerkick was headed home by Upson for our opener.
Crouch looked more comfortable than he has done recently,maybe something to do with the onset of clement weather.He notched the second,heading in from Shotton's long throw in.
Three vital points gained,and an end to a depressing run of results.We rise to 12th in the table,the lowest of four teams on 33 points,on goal difference.