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22:15 31st October 2016

REPORT: Stoke City 3 Swansea City 1

WILFRIED BONY came back to haunt his former club on Halloween as his clinically taken brace helped inspire the Potters to a third successive Premier League triumph.

The on-loan Manchester City ace has been a thorn in the side of the Swans previously, having netted on two occasions against them, and he was the architect of their downfall once more at the bet365 Stadium on Monday night.

The Ivorian opened his account for the Club with a superbly taken effort after just three minutes, clipping home from close range after superbly latching on to Joe Allen’s intelligent ball across the six-yard box.

An incisive Swansea breakaway five minutes later somehow saw them back on level terms, with Wayne Routledge capitalising on some hesitancy within the Stoke backline to head past the helpless Lee Grant from close range.

Mark Hughes was left bewildered as to how his side failed to hold a lead going into the interval with Charlie Adam, on two separate occasions, and Marko Arnautovic both rattling the woodwork with superb individual efforts.

Stoke’s persistence was eventually rewarded 10 minutes into the second period when Ramadan, who was introduced for the injured Xherdan Shaqiri earlier in the night, left Angel Rangel all in a twist and drove the ball across the six-yard box, which Alfie Mawson turned past his own ‘keeper.

The goal breathed life into home faithful, who were buoyed by what they were seeing, and both Arnautovic and Joe Allen, who impressed in his new attacking midfield role, went close to extending the hosts lead with good efforts from distance.

Allen’s tenacity was an instrumental factor in the third goal of the evening, with the Welsh midfielder bursting forward and forcing Fabianski into a smart save at his near post, before he reacted quickest to flick the ball back across the box and into the path of Bony, who looped a header into the far corner.

The 27-year-old, who scored 35 times in 70 matches for the Welsh side, very nearly claimed the matchball three minutes later with a glancing header that looked certain to hit the back of the net, only for Mike van der Hoorn to clear the ball off the line.

The only frustration on the night was a late booking for Arnautovic, which takes his tally for the season to five and rules him out of this weekend’s trip to East London, for a showdown with Slaven Bilic’s West Ham.


    The Potters played out four replays to finally beat Bury in the FA Cup in 1955