FULL-TIME: Swans 3 Stoke 1
19th January 2013
Ben Davies scored his first Swansea City goal while Jonathan de Guzman bagged a brace as Stoke City were brushed aside 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
After a goal-less first half, the Swans made their chances count after the break as Davies shrugged off Jonathan Walters and Ryan Shawcross before firing into the bottom corner to give the hosts a 49-minute lead.
Things got better seven minutes later as Jonathan de Guzman curled home a delightful free-kick past Asmir Begovic, before the Dutchman scored his sixth of the season after some fine play from substitute Danny Graham.
Michael Owen did pull one back in added on time to deny the Swans a cleansheet, but more importantly the three points meant Michael Laudrup's side are now six unbeaten in the league.
It moved the Swans onto 33 points from 23 games as the team's fine form continues, and this also sends them into Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final second leg with Chelsea in winning fashion.
The Swans made eight changes to the starting XI that lost at Arsenal in the FA Cup.
The entire defence was swapped as Angel Rangel, Garry Monk, Ashley Williams and Ben Davies all started, with Chico Flores missing out due to a knee problem.
Ki Sung-Yueng and Michu returned to the midfield while Pablo Hernandez got the nod out wide and Itay Shechter led the line for his fifth start of the season.
New signing Roland Lamah - who joined on loan from Osasuna in midweek - was included among the substitutes.
Swans: Michel Vorm, Angel Rangel, Garry Monk (capt), Ashley Williams, Ben Davies, Ki Sung-Yueng, Jonathan de Guzman, Michu (Leon Britton, 78), Wayne Routledge, Pablo Hernandez (Roland Lamah, 64), Itay Shechter (Danny Graham, 74).
Subs: Gerhard Tremmel, Dwight Tiendalli, Kyle Bartley, Nathan Dyer.
Stoke: Asmir Begovic, Geoff Cameron, Robert Huth, Glenn Whelan, Steven N'Zonzi, Charlie Adam (Cameron Jerome, 63), Ryan Shawcross (capt), Dean Whitehead, Jonathan Walters, Peter Crouch (Kenwyne Jones, 63), Matthew Etherington (Michael Owen, 85).
Subs: Thomas Sorensen, Wilson Palacios, Matthew Upson, Michael Kightly.
At a cold Liberty Stadium, the Swans were quickly out of the blocks with Itay Shechter beating Robert Huth to Angel Rangel's ball down the right flank, and when the striker teed up Michu, the Spaniard couldn't keep his effort down.
With Stoke sitting deep, the Swans were finding it difficult to break through, and the visitors carved open their first opportunity on the half hour as Matthew Etherington fired into the sidenetting after being sent through by Peter Crouch.
Pablo Hernandez then saw his volley deflected wide for a corner before Ben Davies saw his angled effort blocked after some good work by Ki Sung-Yueng.
The Swans then had the best chance of the game so far, with Angel Rangel nutmegging Etherington after the midfielder's failed clearance, and when his cross found Michu, the Spaniard rose highest but could only steer his header inches wide.
The home side kept pushing, and another half chance came their way when Wayne Routledge outwitted Jonathan Walters and the winger raced on to cross to Jonathan de Guzman, but the midfielder failed to make a decent connection.
The visitors then made a swift counter following a Swans corner, but Etherington's 20-yard effort failed to trouble Michel Vorm, who gathered low down in what proved the last action of the half.
Half-time: Swans 0 Stoke 0
The Swans were looking to make a quick start to the half and build on their performance, and Michael Laudrup's team-talk certainly worked out.
Just four minutes into the half, Ki's pass found Ben Davies, and the left-back outmuscled Walters and Shawcross, before firing low past Asmir Begovic and into the bottom corner for his first Swans goal.
The Jack Army sang the local lad's name, and just seven minutes later they were on their feet again celebrating another goal.
After Michu had been awarded a free-kick following a Charlie Adam challenge, up stepped de Guzman to curl home a delightful 20-yard free-kick to double the lead.
Both sides then made changes, Roland Lamah coming on for his debut in place of Hernandez, while Stoke brought Cameron Jerome and Kenwyne Jones on in place of Crouch and Adam.
Stoke needed a response, and they almost got it with 20 minutes to go as Etherington curled in a teasing cross which Garry Monk could only head towards goal, and when it bounced to Jerome, the former Cardiff striker had the chance to pull one back. But he could only scuff his volley over the cross bar from six yards.
Laudrup then made his final changes, Danny Graham replacing Shechter and Leon Britton coming on in place of Michu.
And it paid off as Graham played a huge part in the third goal, with Routledge picking out the striker, whose sublime first-touch pass sent de Guzman in on goal, and the Dutchman controlled before beating Begovic.
The visitors did grab a consolation in added on time, sub Michael Owen glancing a header into the bottom corner from Jerome's cross.
But it was too little, too late for Tony Pulis's side, with the Swans celebrating victory moments later.