Stoke City 2-0 Hull City
Smartly-taken goals from Mario Vrancic and Nick Powell inflicted a third straight defeat on Hull City away to high-flying Stoke City. The recalled Tyler Smith was denied by home keeper Adam Davies and Lewie Coyle thudded a right-footed drive against an upright as the Tigers began brightly.
Vrancic’s solo effort ten minutes before the break put the Potters in front before Powell’s long-range free-kick on 58 minutes wrapped up a comfortable win. The Hull City starting XI showed three changes from the 3-1 home defeat to Sheffield United.
Alfie Jones replaced Di’Shon Bernard at centre-half, fit-again Greg Docherty came into midfield ahead of George Moncur and Tyler Smith led the line in place of Josh Magennis, who missed out completely. Influential midfielder George Honeyman was also absent from the matchday squad.
The Tigers were searching for a first win since the opening day and, after an evenly-contested first 10 minutes, created a number of openings to go in front. Tyler Smith beat the offside trap to latch onto Docherty’s lofted pass and attempted to lift an effort over Adam Davies but the Stoke stopper stood tall to prevent the lob. Keane Lewis-Potter then picked out Matt Smith with a clipped cross but the on-loan midfielder blazed his volley over the bar, with the former nodding off target from Lewie Coyle’s deep cross. The Tigers’ tails were up and Coyle rattled the foot of the post with a cracking right-footed drive from 25 yards.
The home supporters were getting agitated but Stoke came back into the contest, with ex-Hull City man Sam Clucas striking a half-volley which bounced awkwardly off Matt Ingram’s chest. Clucas then bore down on goal but Callum Elder produced an immaculately-timed, last-ditch sliding tackle as the flame-haired midfielder looked to pull the trigger.
The Tigers had acquitted themselves well against Michael O’Neill’s Potters but fell behind to a moment of quality on 35 minutes. Romaine Sawyers’ deft flick saw him skip away from Docherty and drive unchallenged through midfield before sliding a pass into Vrancic on the left side of the box. Vrancic skilfully turned away from Jones and then a lunging Coyle before rifling into the roof of the net at Ingram’s near post.
Full report – click here
Stoke City: Adam Davies, James Chester, Sam Clucas, Mario Vrancic (Sam Surridge 66’), Josh Tymon (Alfie Doughty 71’), Ben Wilmot, Jacob Brown, Demeaco Duhaney, Nick Powell, Romaine Sawyers, Harry Souttar © (Danny Batth 78’).
Subs not used: Joe Bursik, Jordan Thompson, Leo Ostigard, Tom Ince.
Hull City: Matt Ingram; Lewie Coyle, Alfie Jones, Jacob Greaves, Callum Elder; Richie Smallwood © (Andy Cannon 61’), Matt Smith, Greg Docherty; Mallik Wilks (Ryan Longman 69’), Tyler Smith (George Moncur 61’), Keane Lewis-Potter.
Subs: Nathan Baxter, Tom Eaves, Josh Emmanuel, Di’Shon Bernard.
Attendance: 20,124 (622 Hull City supporters)