Stoke City 1 Swansea 1
Swansea bad-boy Chico Flores finally made the headlines for all the right reasons after a February to forget for the Spaniard.
At a blustery Britannia Stadium last night, with the game only going ahead after two pre-match safety inspections given the storm-force winds prior to kick off, Flores deservedly earned Swansea a point in a 1-1 draw.
Prior to grabbing his third goal of the season, this month had proven to be a wretched one for the 26-year-old.
On February 1 Flores was at the heart of a controversial storm that resulted in West Ham’s desperate bid to overturn a three-match ban for Andy Carroll after the two had clashed in a 2-0 defeat for the Swans, with the midfielder over-reacting to a challenge.
A few days later Flores was apparently involved in a training ground bust-up with interim manager Garry Monk.
Monk later insisted the incident had been blown out of all proportion and that he and Flores were all smiles again.
Flores then duly played his part in Saturday’s thumping 3-0 south Wales derby win over Cardiff as Monk began his managerial career with a bang after taking up the reins from the sacked Michael Laudrup.
And he was in the right place at the right time last night to deftly flick home a Pablo Hernandez cross beyond the despairing reach of Asmir Begovic in the 52nd minute to keep Swansea in 10th place.
Arguably, Swansea should have won the game as they were the better team for the most part, aside from one spell in the first half when Peter Crouch bagged his eighth goal of the season in the 17th minute.
Crouch first teed up Peter Odemwingie for a thumping right-foot drive that crashed back off the post straight to the lanky striker whose follow-up deflected off a diving Leon Britton trying to block.
On a truly difficult night for football, with high winds buffeting the players, it became a simple matter of keeping the ball on the ground, and in the opening exchanges it was Swansea who fared the better with such a task.
But Crouch’s opener came against the run of play, and it could have been 2-0 in the 20th minute but for Vorm tipping over the crossbar a dipping effort from Marko Arnautovic.
In control at the end of the first half, though, Swansea were out of the blocks at the start of the second, with Wilfried Bony firing just over the angle of bar and post from the edge of the area 90 seconds in.
Five minutes later and up popped Chico with the equaliser, and at that stage Stoke were undeniably second best all over the pitch.
STOKE CITY: Begovic, Cameron, Pieters, Whelan (Guidetti 68), Shawcross, Wilson, Walters (N’Zonzi 56), Crouch, Adam, Odemwingie, Arnautovic (Assaidi 56).
SWANSEA CITY: Vorm, Rangel, Davies, Cañas, Chico, Williams, Dyer, Britton, Bony, Hernández (De Guzmán 75), Routledge.
Referee: Jonathan Moss
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