0-1, Imbula 9'. 0-2, Afellay 52'. 0-3, Joselu 55'. 1-3, Ritchie 57'.
AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Stoke City: Imbula nets first Potters goal to sink Cherries

AFC Bournemouth 1-3 Stoke City: Imbula nets first Potters goal to sink Cherries

Mark Hughes' Stoke City improved on their poor recent form, defeating AFC Bournemouth by two goals to nil at Dean Court on Saturday afternoon.

Oliver Emmerson
AFC BournemouthBoruc, Daniels, Cook, Francis, Smuth, Surman, Gosling (Ritchie 45'), Arter, Pugh (King 45'), Stanislas (Iturbe 75'), Afobe.
Stoke CityButland, Pieters, Muniesa (Teixeira 45'), Wollscheid, Johnson (Joselu 53'), Imbula, Whelan, Afellay (Ireland 86'), Shaqiri, Walters, Diouf.
REFEREEGraham Scott (ENG): Booked - Diouf, Pugh, Surman, Francis.
INCIDENTSPremier League fixture.

Stoke City were completely dominant, producing their best performance since the turn of the year to defeat Bournemouth 0-3 at Dean Court.

Having lost their last four Premier League games, failing to score a goal whilst shipping 10 in that period, the Potters really needed something to lift the fans, and they provided it. 

January signing Giannelli Imbula opened the scoring with a brilliant strike, before Ibrahim Afellay and Joselu netted early in the second half to give the visitors a three goal lead. Matt Ritchie got one back for the Cherries, but the damage had been done, Stoke claiming all three points. 

Victory lifts Mark Hughes' men up to ninth in the table, keeping alive their faint hopes of qualifying for Europe through a league finish.

No Bojan, no bother, as Stoke take an early lead

Many fans were hoping to see Hughes hand Bojan Krkic a start, after the attacker signed a new contract in midweek, but he was only on the bench. Such worries were quickly forgotten though, with Imbula scoring after just nine minutes.

Grabbing his first for the club, the ex-Porto man did it in style. Bournemouth may feel that they have themselves to blame, failing to clear Xherdan Shaqiri's cross properly, but 'keeper Artur Boruc could do nothing about Imbulla's stinging volley from 25-yards-out, the ball flying across goal into the bottom corner.

That goal handed Stoke the momentum, and they very nearly went two goals ahead through Jon Walters, back in the team after missing the defeat against Everton through a virus. Striking on the volley after a throw-in came his way, half the ground thought it was in, only for the ball to bounce just the wrong side of the post. 

Bournemouth weren't at the races, and Stoke continued to push for a second as the half went on. Set up by Afellay, Shaqiri knocked an effort just around the post, the Swiss international having also seen a shot saved by Boruc earlier in the half. 

Bang bang, Potters go three goals clear

Stoke did eventually score their second goal, and a third soon quickly followed, both goals coming within 10 minutes of the restart. Bournemouth failed to deal with a quick breakaway from the Potters, Walters and Afellay exchanging passes before the latter tucked in from the edge of the area.

Shaqiri was involved in the third, but still couldn't get on the scoresheet. His corner was headed back to him, and the winger crossed again, his ball in met by Joselu who headed past Boruc to virtually secure the three points. 

Afellay celebrates his goal (photo: Getty Images)
Afellay celebrates his goal (photo: Getty Images)

Ritchie strike offers Cherries slight hope

It seemed as if it took Stoke scoring three goals to wake the home side up, with Eddie Howe's men getting one back just two minutes after Joselu's header. Matt Ritchie was the goalscorer, with a superb strike of his own. Given the ball by Charlie Daniels, Ritchie turned well before volleying past an astounded Jack Butland.

That gave the Cherries some hope going into the final half hour, but Stoke's early good work had done the job for them. Josh King was lively, bursting into the area before setting up Ritchie, who was inches away from getting to the ball and making it 3-2. 

Junior Stanislas was the next to miss a chance, set up by King again. The wide player had the ball driven across the box to him, but failed to knock it into a seemingly empty net. 

Stanislas' miss seemed to be the final straw, with Stoke weathering that storm and defending well for the remainder of the game. An important three points for the Potters, who now face a two week wait for their next game - a home fixture against Aston Villa