Capital One Cup: Stephen Ireland praised after scoring in Stoke City victory over Tranmere

Mark Hughes singles out the midfielder

Stephen Ireland scored his first goal since December 2011 to help his new side Stoke into the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.

The former Manchester City midfielder, making his full debut after joining on a season-long loan from Aston Villa, struck the opener midway through the first half as the Potters won 2-0 at Tranmere.

Peter Crouch, also making his first start of the season, added the second with a delicate chip from the final kick of the game at Prenton Park.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes had made seven changes but his side were dominant throughout and should have led by more at half-time.

League One strugglers Tranmere tried to fight back after the break and went close through Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and Chris Atkinson but the task was beyond them.

Hughes, whose side will now face Birmingham in the next round, said: "I was really pleased with how we went about our business tonight.

"When you have a fixture like this in the early rounds of the cup, if you don't approach it in the right manner and give respect to the opposition, and make sure your work is correct, you can cause yourself problems.

"But from the first minute I could tell the lads were focused on what was required."

Ireland is hoping to rejuvenate his career under Hughes, his former Manchester City boss, after falling out of favour at Villa.

The 27-year-old, who joined the Potters on transfer deadline day, was at the heart of much of Stoke's early attacking play and took his goal well, finishing neatly from a Marko Arnautovic pass.

He was substituted after an hour.

Hughes said: "I was really pleased for Stephen because he is desperate to do well here. I thought he was excellent.

"He got tired and we had to take him off but he got his goal and that was reward for a good time out on the pitch."

Hughes has made a good first impression since taking over at the Britannia Stadium in the summer and his desire to play a more attractive style was again evident, despite the changes in personnel.

Tranmere manager Ronnie Moore said: "We played a Premier League side who have adapted really well in such a short space of time.

"It is fantastic to see how they have adapted, they are a good passing side.

"It was gut-wrenching they scored a second in the last minute but it was a fantastic finish, and that is what they are all about - you give them a couple of chances and they score.

"But overall I was pleased with the way we defended.

"At 1-0 you always have a chance. Our chance came when Chris Atkinson shot wide from a good position.

"We would have deserved it at that stage for hanging in there because we were playing quality opposition - they are level on points with Manchester United."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz