Report | Swansea City 2 Stoke City 0
Swansea City climbed to second in the Championship table as Jay Fulton’s brilliant first-half finish and Kasey Palmer’s first goal for the club saw off Stoke City at the Liberty Stadium.
The Scottish midfielder found the net on the half-hour with a wonderful strike with the outside of his right foot after the visitors had failed to clear a corner.
And substitute Palmer made the game safe late on as he bravely nodded the ball beyond the advancing keeper.
The Swans had by far the better of proceedings, and will feel the margin of victory could, and perhaps should, have been greater.
But Steve Cooper will no doubt be pleased with a first win in four games and a clean sheet to boot.
There were a number of eye-catching displays, notably from Fulton, Yan Dhanda and debutant Ryan Manning.
The latter duo had accounted for two of the three changes from the draw at Bristol City, coming in for Jake Bidwell, and Korey Smith respectively.
Kyle Naughton was also handed a starting role as Ben Cabango was named on the bench.
Stoke switched their system to match the Swans, but they had an uncomfortable start.
Inside two minutes Dhanda had turned away from his man to feed Connor Roberts, and then fired against the post when the wing-back returned the ball to him near the penalty spot.
A few moments later and an excellent Dhanda cross was headed narrowly over by Jamal Lowe with Swansea asking all the questions.
Dhanda was causing all manner of problems and he was soon in on goal again, but a heavy touch allowed keeper Adam Davies to race out and avert the danger.
Lowe was the next man to get in behind, latching on to Ryan Bennett’s pass, but he could not quite pick out Andre Ayew’s late-arriving run.
It felt like a goal was coming and Fulton was the man to find the net.
Marc Guehi picked up a loose ball and chipped up an inviting cross that Davies could only punch as far as the Scot.
He took aim and produced a lovely finish with the outside of his right foot to find the net via the inside of the post.
Swansea remained firmly in control, and could easily have doubled their lead just before the break had Guehi and Ayew not got in each other’s way trying to reach a loose ball from Matt Grimes’ inswinging corner.
The hosts would have felt their first-half efforts merited a larger lead, but they remained on the front foot at the start of the second period without managing to create openings with the frequency they had prior to the interval.
Freddie Woodman had not had a save of note to make, although the keeper looked on as Guehi eventually cleared after a surging run from James McClean had sparked momentary confusion in the Swansea defence.
Ayew had a shot deflected wide at the other end, before James Chester made an important last-ditch tackle to prevent Lowe turning in Fulton’s driven cross.
Angus Gunn, on for Davies in goal for the Potters, then got himself in a horrible mess as he slipped as a backpass headed his way and handled in desperation.
Ayew smashed the indirect free-kick goalwards, but it struck one of the bundle of Stoke players on the line.
Gunn made amends with a good save from Lowe, who had shaken off the attentions of Harry Souttar to get in on goal.
But he was not out quickly enough to deny Palmer, who headed the ball beyond him into an empty net to wrap up the three points.
Swansea City: Freddie Woodman; Kyle Naughton, Ryan Bennett (Ben Cabango 74), Marc Guehi; Connor Roberts, Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes (captain), Ryan Manning (Jake Bidwell 74); Yan Dhanda (Kasey Palmer 74); Andre Ayew, Jamal Lowe.
Substitutes: Steven Benda, Korey Smith, Liam Cullen, Viktor Gyokeres.
Stoke City: Adam Davies (Angus Gunn 46); James Chester, Harry Souttar, Morgan Fox (Steven Fletcher 81); Tommy Smith, John Obi Mikel (captain), Tashan Oakley-Boothe, Josh Tymon (Tyrese Campbell 66), James McClean; Jacob Brown, Sam Vokes.
Substitutes: Danny Batth, Lee Gregory, Jordan Cousins, Nick Powell.
Referee: Andre Marriner