The old addadge of ‘good things come to those who wait’ certainly applies to the £3.5 million summer signing from Watford enduring six scoreless games before his 85th minute strike which came after Scott Sinclair had opened the scoring from the penalty spot for the second home game in a row. The hosts were certainly the better of the two sides with their pace and creativity proving a more effective formula than the Potters long ball approach and reliance on set pieces. Tony Pulis’ side did have chances but their attacking intent lacked a major spark with Matthew Etherington’s absence proving to extremely significant. Their best opportunity came from Glenn Whelan with the midfielders superb free kick striking the post as Swansea ran out comfortable winners. Brendan Rodgers will have been delighted with his sides performance with Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer on the wings making it a torrid afternoon for the visitors full backs.
A bright start from the Swans was duly rewarded on eight minutes when Sinclair broke the deadlock with a penalty. Joe Allen played in Routledge who was chopped down in the area by Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross giving referee Mike Jones no other option but to point to the spot. Sinclair duly converted confidently sliding the ball to the left of Asmir Begovic’s dive. That gave the home side the ascendancy and Sinclair almost doubled his tally but saw his stinging effort blocked superbly by Jonathan Woodgate. Graham also had an early chance to open his account but failed to get a touch on Routledges tantalising delivery. Slowly but surely the Potters forced their way back into the game and Jon Walters came close to equalising with a dipping 25-yard volley that brought the best out of Michael Vorm who made a stunning save to deny the striker.
Rory Delap then blazed over just before half time as Swansea clung onto their advantage going into the second period. Stokes reliance on dead balls almost paid off just after the restart with Jermaine Pennant firing a free kick narrowly over the bar before Graham headed over Mark Gowers cross at the other end. Pulis then introduced former Cardiff forward Cameron Jerome to a chorus of boos but he made his presence felt immediately forcing Ashley Williams to haul him down on the edge of the area winning a free kick for his side. Whelan stepped up and curled a wonderful effort that agonisingly struck the post and gave the impression that it wasn’t going to be Stokes afternoon. Swansea were still dangerous on the counter and Sinclair almost made it 2-0 cutting in from the left and forcing Begovic into an important save. Graham then had another chance heading straight at the Potters keeper before wrapping the game up with five minutes remaining. Picking up a loose ball the forward showed great composure to guide the ball past Begovic and make sure the Swans kept up their unbeaten record at the Liberty Stadium.
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