Graham opens league account to complete Swans' day

Swansea City 2 Stoke City 0

Danny Graham began to repay his £3.5m transfer fee by scoring his first Premier League goal for Swansea City to seal a morale-boosting victory over Stoke City as footballing beauty beat the "Beast" yesterday.

The Swans' record signing from Watford in the summer had not found the back of the net in five attempts for the Welsh club in the top flight. But, after Scott Sinclair's ninth-minute penalty, Graham ended his long wait in the 85th minute after dispossessing former Middlesbrough team-mate Jonathan Woodgate before coolly beating Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to open his Swansea account.

The Swansea manager, Brendan Rodgers, said: "Danny has been outstanding since he arrived at the club, but when you have his quality then it was only a matter of time.

"It was a wonderful finish. He was under pressure one versus one and lots of strikers would lash at it and miss the chance. He showed great composure and technique in his finish. It's great for him to get off the mark because he knows strikers are judged on goals."

Rodgers believes his side can claim 10 home victories this season and Swansea were on their way to triumph No 2 after Sinclair's opener. A precise through-ball from the outstanding Joe Allen did not appear to threaten the Stoke backline until Ryan Shawcross clumsily upended Wayne Routledge, leaving referee Michael Jones with little option but to signal towards the spot.

The award of the spot-kick was, bizarrely, in almost identical fashion to the one Swansea gladly received against West Bromwich Albion two weeks previously. Rodgers' men had the same end result as Sinclair coolly stepped up on a humid afternoon to send Begovic the wrong way.

Stoke, fresh from their Europa League victory over Turkish side Besiktas on Thursday night, began slowly, but gradually imposed their renowned physicality on to this hard-fought battle and could have drawn level on 21 minutes.

Jonathan Walters outmuscled Mark Gower and the Republic of Ireland striker saw his excellent 25-yard effort tipped on to the crossbar by the Swansea keeper Michel Vorm.

Stoke should have gone down to 10 men following a reckless tackle from Andy Wilkinson on pint-sized winger Nathan Dyer, but Jones cautioned the Potters full-back as well as Peter Crouch for a late challenge on Gower.

Glenn Whelan hit the post with a second-half free-kick for Stoke then Sinclair forced Begovic into a superb flying save before Graham sealed the win.

Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager, said: "Ryan's challenge was poor and it gave Swansea the start everyone in the Premier League wants. It lifted them.

"We hit the post and woodwork and, from that point until the second goal, I thought we were the team who would get the equaliser," he added.

Substitutes: Swansea Moore 6 (Routledge, 66), Lita (Graham, 90). Stoke Huth 5 (Wilson, 33), Jerome 5 (Delap, 54), Shotton (Pennant, 80). Booked: Swansea Taylor, Routledge, Gower. Stoke Wilkinson, Whelan, Pennant, Shotton, Crouch.

Man of the match Allen. Match rating 6/10.

Possession: Swansea 55% Stoke 45%.

Attempts on target: Swansea 5 Stoke 6.

Referee M Jones (Cheshire).

Attendance 19,523.

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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable