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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
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

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy