Stoke off the bottom after beating Fulham
The Potters post back-to-back league victories for the first time under Nathan Jones.
Stoke claimed their first home league win since the start of March as they climbed off the bottom of the Championship with a 2-0 victory over Fulham.
Goals from strikers Tyrese Campbell and Lee Gregory (penalty) did the damage as Nathan Jones’ side claimed back-to-back league victories for the first time since he took charge in January.
Campbell fired home a fine 16th-minute effort and then strike-partner Gregory scored from the spot with 10 minutes remaining after substitute Scott Hogan was fouled by keeper Marcus Bettinelli.
Bettinelli had made a string of fine saves to thwart the hosts, but was made to pay for felling Hogan late on as the Potters wrapped up a welcome win to delight their suffering supporters.
Fulham had plenty of the possession in the opening quarter of an hour but the visitors succumbed to a sucker-punch to go behind.
A routine goal-kick from keeper Adam Federici was headed on by Gregory and Campbell held off his marker to slot into the bottom-left corner.
It was Campbell’s first goal of the season and first since April last season having been used mainly as a substitute this season.
Having impressed in a battling 2-1 away win over Swansea before the international break, Campbell clearly wasn’t going to squander only his second league start of the season.
The home team could have easily doubled their lead 10 minutes later after another measured counter-attack.
Gregory was again the provider, teeing up skipper Joe Allen on the penalty spot.
But midfielder Allen’s powerful right-foot shot was excellently saved by Bettinelli, diving outstretched to his left.
Goalscorer Campbell nearly had a second just after the half hour but Fulham somehow held on.
Campbell’s initial close-range shot was well saved by Bettinelli, despite the keeper slipping as the striker raced down on goal.
But Campbell got to his feet and unleashed a second shot which defender Alfie Mawson brilliantly blocked almost on his own goal-line.
Allen nearly scored for Stoke inside the opening minute of the second half but his point-blank effort from Gregory’s cross was kept out by Bettinelli.
Gregory then had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Andy Davies after he thought he was fouled by defender Joe Bryan.
Fulham finally created a decent chance in the 51st minute when Federici pulled off a fine save to palm Harry Arter’s powerful shot clear.
Three minutes later captain Tom Cairney curled a left-foot shot just wide of the left post as the Cottagers pushed for a leveller.
Bobby Decordova-Reid lashed a thunderous shot wide of the left upright as the visitors grew into the game and looked to avoid only their second loss in five away matches.
Reid headed straight at a thankful Federici from Ivan Cavaleiro’s cross moments later as Fulham kept knocking for an equaliser.
Bryan fired just over the bar as Scott Parker’s side looked for a way back, but Gregory’s penalty sealed their fate.
Sub Hogan was clear on goal but Bettinelli felled him and was lucky to just get a yellow card for the misdemeanour.
But that was the least of Fulham’s worries as Gregory stepped up to fire into the bottom-right corner to secure a vital victory.