Bournemouth 1-3 Stoke City: Giannelli Imbula's debut strike helps beat Cherries
By Richard Morgan
Last Updated: 14/02/16 6:56am
Stoke City ended a poor recent run by beating Bournemouth 3-1 on Saturday afternoon, with recent new signing Giannelli Imbula scoring his first goal for the club.
The midfielder broke the deadlock with a brilliant long-range strike after just nine minutes, before quick-fire goals at the start of the second half from Ibrahim Afellay and Joselu ended the game as a contest.
The home side did respond immediately through substitute Matt Ritchie's well-struck effort, but Stoke held on to record their first away win since December - moving up to ninth in the process - with Bournemouth remaining 15th, four points from safety.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe brought in Junior Stanislas in place of Ritchie, who was on the bench, after last weekend's home loss to Arsenal, while, Stoke were without the sick Marko Arnautovic.
However, the visitors were able to welcome back Jonathan Walters from illness as they looked to end a dreadful recent run of more than six hours without a Premier League goal.
And it took the Potters just nine minutes to end their scoring drought, and what a strike it was too as new boy Imbula opened the scoring with memorable long-range goal.
There was an element of luck to it as, following a throw-in on the left, the ball fell kindly at the feet of the Frenchman, who cost £18.3m from Porto in the January transfer window, and the midfielder unleashed a sweetly-struck shot that flew past a helpless Artur Boruc in Bournemouth's goal.
That early strike appeared to settle Stoke's nerves, with the Potters arriving on the south coast on the back of 3-0 defeats in their last three Premier League games, and they really should have extended their lead before half-time.
However, Walters - after a clever turn on the edge of the box - saw a half volley beat Boruc, only to hit the side-netting, before the always busy Xherdan Shaqiri tested the Poland international with a swerving effort from just outside the area.
Those near misses were soon forgotten, though, when Stoke scored twice in three minutes at the start of the second period, with the first of those goals coming when down to 10 men with Glen Johnson off the pitch receiving treatment for a knee injury.
That mattered little as Walters made his way to the right-hand corner of the box, before pulling the ball back perfectly for Afellay to score his first-ever Premier League goal with a low shot into the bottom corner of the net.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes was forced to introduce Joselu for Johnson, and the Spaniard wasted little time before further increasing the visitors' lead as he headed home Shaqiri's inch-perfect right-wing centre after a corner.
Bournemouth may have been shell shocked by the start to the second half, but they soon got themselves back into the contest thanks to a lovely goal from Ritchie, who had replaced Dan Gosling at the break.
The ball was fired into the box from the left wing, with the midfielder's impressive left-footed strike flying past a motionless Butland in Stoke's goal to make it three goals in just five second-half minutes
However, that proved to be the end of the scoring rush as Stoke's makeshift back line held out for a morale-boosting first league win on the road since they beat Everton 4-3 on December 28.
For Howe and Bournemouth, though, that is now back-to-back home defeats in their bid to beat the drop.
Bournemouth: Boruc (6), Smith (6), Francis (6), Cook (6), Daniels (6), Surman (6), Stanislas (6), Gosling (5), Arter (6), Pugh (6), Afobe (6)
Used subs: Iturbe (7), King (8), Ritchie (8)
Stoke City: Butland (8), Johnson (7), Wollscheid (7), Muniesa (6), Pieters (6), Whelan (6), Imbula (9), Diouf (6), Afellay (8), Shaqiri (8), Walters (7)
Used subs: Ireland (6), Joselu (7), Teixeira (6)
Man of the Match: Giannelli Imbula