Barclays Premier League

Stoke sink Swansea

2012-02-26 19:25
Peter Crouch (File)

Stoke-on-Trent - Stoke recovered from their midweek Europa League exit to sink Swansea with a 2-0 victory at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.

Tony Pulis's side were knocked out of Europe's second tier competition at Valencia on Thursday, but the Stoke boss has never hidden his belief that Premier League survival should be the club's primary ambition every year.

They look odds-on to secure another season in the top-flight after this win, secured by first half goals from Matthew Upson and Peter Crouch, moved them 12 points clear of the relegation zone.

Stoke had lost their last four league fixtures, which was surely a factor in Pulis's decision to leave nine first-team players at home when his squad flew to Valencia this week, and his decision paid off as a refreshed side tore into Swansea.

Former England defender Upson broke the deadlock in the 24th minute when he netted his first Stoke goal, powering in a header from a Matthew Etherington corner.

Upson produced a crucial block to preserve Stoke's lead as the centre-back flung himself in the way of Neil Taylor's shot.

Swansea controlled possession but lacked a cutting edge and they were undone again six minutes before the break as Stoke's set-piece mastery produced the second goal.

This time Ryan Shotton's long throw was Stoke's weapon and former Tottenham striker Crouch had the simple task of nodding it home from close-range.

Nathan Dyer curled a shot wide of the far post but it was a rare break for Swansea and in the 55th minute Jon Walters almost made it three.

Shotton's long throw again picked out Crouch, who flicked on to Jonathan Walters, but the strike directed his header well over.

Swansea pressed hard in the closing stages but did not test Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic until injury-time, when the Bosnian pushed Steven Caulker's bullet header onto the bar.

Read more on:    epl  |  peter crouch
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