Stoke recorded a fourth away win from their last five on the road as Jacob Brown and Tom Ince secured a dominant 2-0 triumph at Hull in the Championship.
The Potters have kept clean sheets in each of that impressive quartet of contests, with 39-year-old former England international Phil Jagielka inspiring the latest shut-out during an assured debut for the club following his switch from Derby.
Michael O’Neill’s men threatened from the first whistle.
Home ‘keeper Nathan Baxter quickly had to race out of his penalty box to tackle D’Margio Wright-Phillips, the 20-year-old son of Shaun Wright-Phillips and grandson of Ian Wright, who was making his league debut.
Moments later, Baxter was quick off his line again to smother a Brown shot with covering defender Sean Mcloughlin then blocking Ince’s goal-bound follow-up effort.
Ince sliced well over from Sam Clucas’ consequent corner but the former Hull players combined again to help Brown open the scoring midway through the first half.
This time, Ince spotted Clucas free on the left-wing and the latter’s pinpoint cross saw Brown net his first goal since November 6 with an emphatic six-yard header.
The Staffordshire outfit continued to press after going ahead with Clucas slicing off target from distance and Baxter reacting brilliantly to get his fingertips to a Jagielka header following Joe Allen’s ball in from the right.
Hull finally mustered a noteworthy attempt in the 34th minute when George Honeyman raided down the right and his cross was met by a firm Tom Eaves volley that Jack Bonham, making his league debut for Stoke, did well to hold on to in the visitors’ goal.
The Potters were back on the front foot after the break with Josh Tymon nutmegging Di’Shon Bernard before his powerful drive was blocked by an alert McLoughlin.
A sloppy pass out of defence by Bernard, intercepted by James Chester, then led to Stoke’s second goal after 50 minutes.
Chester found Clucas in the space vacated by the on-loan Manchester United defender and his pass from the left channel picked out fellow ex-Tiger Ince, who swept a clinical 15-yard finish into Baxter’s bottom-left corner for his third goal in four outings.
The menacing Wright-Phillips went close with an edge-of-the-box strike that whistled narrowly over shortly afterwards and Chester’s header bounced just wide following a Clucas corner.
Persistent play by Brown also saw him squeeze away a shot that Baxter kept out at his near post before substitute Lewis Baker tested the busy Tigers keeper again after a positive forward charge.
Hull ended the contest deservedly beaten and have now lost their last four fixtures in all competitions.
What the managers said…
Hull’s Grant McCann: “We were nowhere near good enough and got out of the game what we deserved. But I have an honest and young group of players who know when they have not performed, so they don’t need me shouting and screaming at them. They just need to make sure they are better in the next game, because too many of them were off their game and it was a poor performance from start to finish.
“There were mistakes made for their goals, but this game was not about individuals. We weren’t good enough collectively and, all in all, it was a really disappointing afternoon for us. We didn’t give our fans anything to cheer about at all.”
Stoke assistant Dean Holden: “Full credit to Incey – he’s a great example for every player in the squad because he’s always one of our best trainers whether he’s in the team or not and you get your reward when you work like that every day. He played in a slightly different role today, but all of the midfield three gave us energy.
“Most of the first and second balls went to a Stoke City shirt and, on top of that, we kept the ball effectively. To score two good goals away from home and restrict a side with Tom Eaves’ aerial threat to one shot on target was very pleasing. We could have got more goals and been a bit cuter with the final pass, but we still created enough big chances and, with three players making their debut in Phil Jagielka, Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Lewis Baker, who we were all very pleased with, it was a perfect afternoon.
“The lads’ performance probably made it quite easy for the gaffer to watch on his sofa, but that’s testament to the work he has put in since being here that that can happen when he hands things over.”
Source : Sky Sports