Stoke City 2-0 Swansea City: Upson and Crouch on target as Potters recover from Europa League exit to leapfrog visitors

Goals from the defender and striker saw the Potters rise to 12th and give themselves new hope of finishing in the top-half of the Premier League after Europa League exit
Stoke City  gave renewed hope to their top-half ambitions with a confident 2-0 win over Swansea City at the Britannia Stadium.

The win sees the Potters take three points in the league for just the second time in 2012 and rise above the Swans and West Brom into 12th place, with the Welsh side taking over Stoke’s vacated 14th place.

After overcoming Swansea’s dominance in the opening moments of the first-half, the hosts finally got into gear and punished the visitors from two simple aerial attacks - the first from a corner that Matthew Upson got his head to, sending the ball flying past the Swans’ defence, the second as Peter Crouch then replicated the defender’s effort to double the Potters’ lead five minutes before the break.

Stoke kept their momentum going into the second-half and had Swansea struggling to get out of their own area, but soon regained some much needed confidence, but in the end wasn’t enough to claw the game back and the Potters secured their win by sitting behind the ball.

Tony Pulis replaced Jermaine Pennant with Ryan Shotton on the right-wing for Stoke, while Rory Delap started on the bench for the Potters having had his red card rescinded from their FA Cup win over Crawley Town. Dean Whitehead stepped in for the midfielder, but the suspended Robert Huth was replaced by Matthew Upson.

Swansea ‘keeper Michel Vorm meanwhile, missed out having been sidelined with a virus. Gerhard Tremmel stood in for the regular between the sticks.

The Swans started as the brighter outfit with Nathan Dyer racing down the right-flank to drag the ball across the Potters’ box to Scott Sinclair who, after dropping his marker, swiped at the ball fiercely, sending it above Asmir Begovic’s goal.

Swansea were dominating the match as Stoke struggled to get a grasp on the ball, but the visitors were lacking that final pass up top to make their hosts pay and left Asmir Begovic far from as busy as he could have been.

The Potters however, went on to disrupt the run of play and grab an opener from a corner. Coming in from the right, Upson got his head to the set-piece and sent a powerful effort storming through the pack inside the box and into Tremmel’s top-corner.

Shotton was the architect for Stoke’s second just before the break, the young flanker sending in a throw-in straight into the heart of the Swans’ area for Crouch to rise above everyone around him and nod the ball down to Tremmel’s bottom corner. The German got a touch, but failed to prevent Stoke doubling their lead.

The hosts began the second-half as they had finished the first, and Swansea frequently found themselves pinned down in their own half and around their area. The Stoke attackers constantly worked the ball around the Swans’ defenders and Tremmel had to be alert to take command of his box.

Swansea though started to regain some confidence and gave Stoke numerous set-pieces to deal with, but the visitors again struggled to conjure any real danger for Pulis' men to contend with in front of goal.

Steven Caulker almost gave Swansea a consolation goal from close-range, getting his head to a cross and forcing a tremendous save from Begovic to retain his clean-sheet.

The hosts were happy to allow Swansea to come at them with the ball as they sat back until the final whistle and claimed a rare three points to help them climb  up the Premier League.

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