Capital One Cup: Stephen Ireland praised after scoring in Stoke City victory over Tranmere
Mark Hughes singles out the midfielder
Thursday 26 September 2013
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."
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
Latest in Sport
Mario Balotelli to Liverpool: Best memes as Twitter reacts to imminent £16m transfer
Manchester United transfer news: Louis van Gaal joins Arsenal and Chelsea in the race for Sami Khedira
Mario Balotelli takes 50 per cent pay cut to join Liverpool as Samuel as Eto’o waits in the wings if deal falls through
Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
Click here for the full story." title="When a youngster asked for an autograph outside Manchester City's training ground, Balotelli demanded to know why the boy was playing truant. After the child revealed he was being bullied, Balotelli drove the boy and his mother to the school in question so he could tackle the bully himself. He demanded to see the headmaster to make him aware of the issue and then mediated between the two boys to resolve the problem. A source said: 'Mario feels strongly about bullying.' Click here for the full story." width="88" height="52" />Mario Balotelli: The funniest stories
- 1 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for beauty pageant
- 2 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile