STOKE CITY'S recent woes continued at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon as Manchester City inflicted a third successive defeat upon the side.
A brace from Kelechi Iheanacho and efforts from Fernando and Sergio Aguero were enough to seal all three points for the hosts in relatively routine fashion.
A bright opening to the game from the visitors was undone when some sloppy defending allowed Fernando to march in and glance home the opening goal of the game 10 minutes before the break.
Skipper Ryan Shawcross was then adjudged to have pulled down Iheanacho in the penalty area shortly before the interval - thus allowing Aguero to step up and notch his 101st goal for the Citizens.
A vastly improved showing immediately after the interval should have culminated in the deficit at least being halved with good opportunities failing to be converted by Joselu, Mame Diouf and Marko Arnautovic.
However, those missed chances came back to haunt Hughes' men as Iheanacho rounded off a flowing City counter attack to effectively put the game to bed midway through the second period.
The icing was put on the cake soon after when substitute Wilfried Bony fed the pacy Iheanacho, who rounded Jakob Haugaard before rolling the ball into an empty net.
Prior to kick-off Hughes made three changes to his starting line-up with the absence of Ibrahim Afellay being the most noteworthy given the fact that he had suffered a long-term injury during the latter stages of Friday's training session.
His absence, together with the missing Xherdan Shaqiri, through injury, forced the Welshman into two changes whilst he also opted to drop Bojan down to the bench for the live televised encounter.
That meant a recall to the eleven for Phil Bardsley, Joselu and Mame Diouf, whose wonderful solo effort secured maximum spoils for the Potters in Manchester last season.
Republic of Ireland international Shay Given got the green light to continue to deputise for the injured Jack Butland although he only last half the game after being forced off with a groin injury.
It was a further dampener on what was a hugely frustrating day for the Potters and the travelling army of supporters.