The Warmdown: Superb Stoke shine against the Swans
Sam Clucas lifts his shirt to the Swansea fans. (Credit: Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

Stoke City stunned their hosts and ran out comfortable winners to lift them into second in the Sky Bet Championship table.

The visitors were on top from the beginning and took the lead on fifteen minutes courtesy of a Nick Powell header, after a pinpoint cross from Tommy Smith.

Despite growing into the game as the first-half came to a close, Swansea were unable to muster any meaningful attacks at Joe Bursik's goal. 

Eight minutes into the second period, Michael O'Neill's side doubled their lead as Sam Clucas rolled the ball past Steven Benda after Stoke pounced on some lazy defending from the hosts. 

Clucas certainly enjoyed his goal against his former side, and held his shirt aloft towards the Swansea fans in celebration.

The Potters all but confirmed their victory on the hour mark, with Brighton loanee Leo Ostigard firing in his first goal for the club after a scramble in the Swans box from a corner. 

Joel Piroe pulled a goal back for Russell Martin's men with just under 20 minutes left, but it was too little too late to salvage any points. 

  • Swansea need a striker

The home side offered little going forward in the opening 38 minutes, until Piroe was thrown on for just his third game in a Swansea shirt to replace the ineffective Yan Dhanda.

To his credit, the Dutchman notched his second goal of the season in the dying embers and it was clear that he should have started the game in attack with Jamal Lowe.

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The Jacks are still yet to replace the goals and overall impact of Andre Ayew, who departed in the summer after firing the Welsh outfit to the playoff final last season, with 17 goals and four assists.

Left to try to emulate him are Piroe, Morgan Whittaker and Liam Cullen - all of whom are relative unknowns in the Sky Bet Championship.

Amongst those linked with a move to the Stadium is Andre Gray, and fans will hope to see a fresh face arrive in the coming weeks to bolster their inexperienced strike force.

  • Russell Martin's style dilemma

This game was very similar to what Swans fans have seen in every league game under their new manager so far. 

Martin arrived in south Wales from MK Dons with a reputation for slick, Barcelona-style passing football and has certainly stuck to his guns in the little time he has had in charge so far.

Swansea have had 72%, 62% and 64% possession in their first three league games - but have picked up only one point and scored two goals from just eight shots on target. 

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It is clear that fans need to stay patient with their new man, but how long until that patience begins to wear thin?

From the reaction on social media and the groans heard from the crowd against Stoke, the doubt looks to already be setting in.

It is too early in the season to think about a potential departure, but fortunes need to change quickly for Martin if he is to win his supporters over.

Upcoming league games against Bristol City, Preston and Hull City will already be labelled as 'must-win'.

  • Stoke's brilliant team effort

This performance will live long in the memory of all Stoke fans that watched along.

The Potters were solid in defence, with wingbacks Tommy Smith and Josh Tymon working tirelessly to support a rigid backline of Harry Souttar, Ben Wilmot and Leo Ostigard. 

They were busy in midfield as Joe Allen lead by captain's example and allowed Sam Clucas and Nick Powell to display their great attacking prowess.

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Jordan Thompson also showed glimpses of his brilliance when he came on for the injured Powell.

Leading the line, Jacob Brown and Sam Surridge worked their socks off to press a shaky Swans defence and their brilliant efforts paid off as both notched an assist each. 

Playing like a team is something Stoke teams of old never struggled with, but in recent years it has mostly been like watching a team of individuals instead. 

That was different in this game, Michael O'Neill's side were passing the ball around as if it was a training session, and they looked like a team of players that were happy to play with one another.

So for Stoke fans, long may that continue.

  • Potters possible promotion push

Despite being just three games into the new season, it is understandable as to why Stoke fans are getting excited about their possible promotion prospects.

As aforementioned, it feels like the Potters have turned a corner this season and can start to look ahead instead of worrying about off-field troubles and squad unrest.

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Michael O'Neill looks to have a squad he is comfortable with, after letting go of 13 senior players so far in this window and bringing in young, hungry new blood across all positions.

It also seems as if Stoke are not yet done, with O'Neill outlining his desire to bring in more fresh faces as the transfer window looks to draw to a close.

So with the team playing well, new signings on the horizon and injured players such as Mario Vrancic and Tyrese Campbell to come into the fold - there is certainly strong cause for optimism in North Staffordshire at the moment.