Stanislas and Surmann sink Stoke
STOKE have been sucked into the Premier League relegation zone after two goals within 133 seconds earned Bournemouth a first top-flight victory on their travels this season.
Eddie Howe’s side had lost each of their four away fixtures, but Andrew Surman’s opener at the bet365 Stadium was swiftly followed by a Junior Stanislas penalty, awarded after Ryan Shawcross tripped Benik Afobe.
The Potters pulled one back in the second period through Mame Diouf but a 2-1 loss saw them drop into the bottom three following a run of one win from eight in all competitions.
Amid typically blustery Staffordshire weather, Stoke’s afternoon got bleaker shortly after kick-off.
The first of two goals in quick succession originated down the right, where Jordon Ibe spotted Adam Smith’s run to the byline. His pull-back to Stanislas allowed the forward to tee up Surman to steer a well-controlled effort into the corner of Jack Butland’s net.
It went from bad to worse from a home perspective as just 80 seconds later Stoke conceded a penalty.
Stanislas’ terrific back-heeled nutmeg of Kurt Zouma released Afobe to run at the returning Shawcross, whose clumsy scissor-kicked challenge felled the Cherries forward.
Stanislas had to convince Afobe to let him take the penalty and he made no mistake from the spot triggering jeers from the disgruntled Stoke fanbase.
Unsurprisingly Mark Hughes abandoned his back-three system after an ineffective first half where they accommodated their visitors’ time and space.
Glen Johnson was also replaced by Peter Crouch as Hughes sent out another SOS to his towering target man and within four minutes Stoke had pulled one back.
A semi-cleared corner reached Pieters and his ball back into the box ricocheted kindly to Diouf via Simon Francis’ attempted clearance off Choupo-Moting, and the Senegalese bundled the ball past Begovic with his thigh.
It was a script Stoke had followed so many times in recent years — throwing on Crouch. But there was to be no spirited second-half comeback from the hosts, though, at the start of what they thought would be a run of fixtures to shoot up the division.