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17:00 29th September 2012

Stoke City 2 Swans 0

A Peter Crouch double sent the Swans to their third consecutive Barclays Premier League defeat at the Britannia Stadium.
Despite an improved second-half display, the Swans never recovered from the first-half double as the giant Crouch earned Stoke City their opening win of the campaign.

Swans boss Michael Laudrup welcomed back central defender Chico Flores from his three-match suspension.
Chico returned to the heart of the defence alongside skipper Ashley Williams, while Ben Davies and Angel Rangel remained in the full-back berths.
In midfield, Leon Britton was recalled to the starting line-up after missing out against Everton. Britton, who was making his 399th appearance for the club, was partnered by Ki Sung-Yueng and Michu.
Nathan Dyer also started out wide after coming off the bench against the Toffees in the last game only to see red within 15 minutes. Fortunately, his one-match ban kicked in against Crawley in midweek.
Pablo Hernandez also recovered from a knee injury to start on the other flank, with Danny Graham as the central striker.
Having taken seven points from the opening three games, the Swans were brought down to earth with two consecutive defeats against Aston Villa and Everton.
But they found that winning feeling again in midweek with a late 3-2 victory at Crawley Town in the Capital One Cup, courtesy of an injury-time header from Garry Monk.
They faced a Stoke side managed by Welshman Tony Pulis and still searching for their first league win of the new campaign after four draws and one defeat, although they have faced tough opposition in the likes of Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea.
Pulis had no injury worries ahead of the game and named an unchanged side from the one that drew at Chelsea, with the only absentee still being full-back Andy Wilkinson through suspension.
There was no place in the starting line-up for striker Michael Owen who Pulis feels needs more game time from the substitutes bench.

Swans: Vorm, Rangel, Davies, Chico Flores, Williams (capt), Britton, Ki, Michu, Dyer, Hernandez, Graham. Subs: Tremmel, Monk, Routledge, Moore, De Guzman, Shechter, Tiendalli.

Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross (c), Huth, Wilson, Walters, Whelan, N'Zonzi, Adam, Kightly, Crouch. Subs: Sorensen, Jones, Owen, Edu, Whitehead, Upson, Etherington.


Swansea made a bright start, keeping possession well in the opening minutes.
The first chance fell to Stoke though in the fourth minute when Charlie Adam delivered a dangerous cross to the far post where the towering Peter Crouch was waiting. But Angel Rangel did well to head behind for a corner which the Swans defended well.
Stoke forced themselves on top though and took the lead in the 12th minute. Swansea lost possession in the middle of the park and Michel Vorm was forced to save well from Jonathan Walters at the expense of a corner.
Whelan delivered it and Peter Crouch was left totally unmarked to head home from eight yards.
Danny Graham tried to force a response in the 20th minute as he picked up a loose pass on the edge of the area, but his shot failed to trouble goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
The visitors didn't panic though and stuck to their passing game on a slow surface as a fine through ball found Rangel who forced the corner with 26 minutes gone. But Begovic came to take the cross far too easily.
Then two minutes later good combination play involving Nathan Dyer, Pablo Hernandez and Graham saw Michu fire just wide from the edge of the area.
Stoke were soon forcing the Swans back on the defensive though as they swung in deep crosses from either flank to the waiting Walters and Crouch.
And with 36 minutes gone, Stoke were 2-0 ahead. Geoff Cameron's cross into the box wasn't cleared and after Walters's shot was blocked, Crouch drilled home his second from close range.
Britton blazed an effort over the bar from the edge of the area in the dying seconds of the half, but as the Swans trailed off at the interval, they were left with a mountain to climb.

Half-time: Stoke 2 Swans 0

Swansea started brightly again though as Ki's shot was deflected just over for a corner which Stoke cleared at the second attempt.
The visitors looked as if they had the chance to pull one back in the 54th minute when the overlapping Ben Davies went down inside the area under a challenge from Cameron, but instead of a penalty, referee Jon Moss booked the young Welshman for simulation.
Swansea were soon on the attack again though as Dyer raced clear only to be crudely pulled back by Walters who was booked with 56 minutes gone.
Hernandez fired just wide as Swansea started to push forward more. But it proved to be his last piece of the action as the Spaniard was replaced by Wayne Routledge with 62 minutes gone.
The Swans were getting closer though as Graham fired over after the visitors had forced two consecutive corners.
Pullis responded immediately to Swansea's growing influence by bringing on Matthew Etherington for Charlie Adam in the 68th minute.
The second change for Swansea soon followed as Luke Moore came on for Michu. But with just 16 minutes remaining, time was quickly running out for a comeback.
It was Stoke who nearly put the game to bed though 12 minutes from time when a rare missed pass from Britton saw Flores lose possession and Crouch headed Etherington's far post cross onto the top of the bar.
By that time, however, Stoke already had the victory, their first of the new season, in the bag.
    Data provided by Press Association