SWANSEA CITY inflicted a first defeat in four upon the Potters at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday afternoon . . . and in the process strengthened their grip on eighth place in the Barclays Premier League table.
Mark Hughes’ side made the long journey to South Wales hoping to elevate themselves up and above the Swans, but were forced to rue a subdued second half showing as the home side deservedly claimed maximum spoils.
Icelandic international Gylfi Sigurdsson had already gone close on three occasions during a vastly improved second 45 minute showing from Garry Monk’s side before Jefferson Montero opened the day’s scoring.
The lively and incredibly pacy Ecuadorian international beat Phil Bardsley to Jonjo Shelvey’s pin-point back post delivery and expertly headed home from three-yards.
There was further drama when Marc Wilson became the first Potters player to be sent off in the league this term; receiving a second caution for a late challenge on Montero, who seemingly would have been through on goal but for the Irish defender’s challenge.
With the visitors pressing forward in search of a late leveller, the hosts caught them, with a classic counter attack and wrapped up the victory deep into stoppage time thanks to substitute Ki Sung-Yeung’s neatly taken strike.
Prior to kick-off Hughes made four changes to his starting line-up following the 1-1 draw against relegation-threatened Sunderland at the Britannia Stadium seven days earlier; with the inclusion of Jack Butland being the most surprising.
The England international ‘keeper replaced the previously ever present Asmir Begovic in goal, whilst there were also spots in the line-up for Wilson, Phil Bardsley and Glenn Whelan, with the injured Geoff Cameron, Philipp Wollscheid and Stephen Ireland all missing out.