PREM: Stoke City 3-1 Hull City


Marko Arnautovic scores for Stoke City as Harry Maguire attempts to block his shot

Stoke City beat struggling Hull City 3-1 at the bet365 stadium on Saturday to end a run of four straight Premier League defeats.


The Potters led at the break thanks to Marko Arnautovic's well-taken early strike, the Austria international's sixth league goal of the season.

However, the Tigers deservedly levelled matters six minutes after half-time via Harry Maguire's deflected shot, only for substitute Peter Crouch to head the home team back ahead midway through the second half. And Stoke wrapped up the win when Xherdan Shaqiri scored with a stunning 30-yard effort to move up to ninth in the table, while Hull remain two points clear of the drop zone in 17th as Marco Silva still seeks his first away win since taking over in January.

Both teams made two changes after losing last weekend, with Stoke boss Mark Hughes even trying out a new formation as he sought to bring an end to a dreadful run of five games without a league win. And the home side made the dream start by opening the scoring after just six minutes through Arnautovic, who in the process became the highest-scoring Austrian in Premier League history.

Shaqiri's crisp pass found Arnautovic racing clear down the left wing, before the forward cut back inside and thumped an unstoppable effort past a helpless Eldin Jakupovic and into the top right-hand corner of the net. However, if Hughes thought that early goal would settle his team down, he was mistaken as the visitors took control of proceedings for the rest of the first half, only to fail to make their domination pay.

Oumar Niasse saw one close-range effort saved by Lee Grant, before the Stoke goalkeeper had to be alert to keep out Lazar Markovic's well-struck volley. And from the resulting corner, returning centre-back Maguire somehow blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy as the Tigers continued to waste chances to get back on level terms.

The Potters also had their moments before the break, with the always dangerous Arnautovic going closest to doubling the home side's lead after being picked out by Shaqiri's delicious lofted ball, only to fire over the bar with just Jakupovic to beat. But it was Hull who got the next goal after 51 minutes to draw level, although in truth it was a scruffy effort that had a large element of good fortune about it.

Stoke left wing-back Erik Pieters needlessly conceded a corner from which the ball dropped to the unmarked Maguire at the back stick, and the central defender's scuffed effort bobbled past Grant at his near post with the aid of a deflection off Ryan Shawcross.

Hughes responded to that setback by bringing on both Walters and Crouch just before the hour mark, and eight minutes later the duo combined to put Stoke in front again as the Irishman's inch-perfect cross was powered home by his strike partner for his 49th headed goal in the Premier League.

And despite Grant having to be alert to keep out Kamil Grosicki's low shot with a quarter of an hour left to play, Stoke sealed the points when Shaqiri added to his growing list of stunning long-range left-footed strikes 10 minutes from time.
 


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