Stoke City boosted their hopes of Championship survival with a massive 4-0 victory over relegation rivals Barnsley at the weekend.
The pressure was on for Michael O’Neill’s side on Saturday afternoon, having slipped into the relegation zone in midweek following their defeat to Wigan Athletic, as well as Hull’s 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.
Stoke came up against an improving Barnsley side who sat just one place below the Potters heading into the weekend, so a win was undoubtedly invaluable for these two sides.
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It was Stoke who blew their opponents away, though, and picked up a huge three points in their hopes of avoiding the drop down to League One.
Sam Vokes opened the scoring for the hosts, flicking a header into the top corner from a Sam Clucas corner.
Vokes turned provider just two minutes later, harrying the Barnsley defence and pulling the ball back for Tyrese Campbell, who produced an excellent flick to double the lead on 10 minutes.
Campbell then doubled his tally for the afternoon and fired in Stoke’s third goal on 38 minutes, latching onto Sam Clucas’ low delivery and slotting a first-time finish into the bottom corner.
Tom Ince completed the rout on 87 minutes, firing in a powerful effort in off the crossbar and into the net, confirming a massive 4-0 win for the hosts, and a victory that takes them up to 18th.
It was Campbell who grabbed the headlines for his two goals and an all-round impressive display at the weekend, and here, we take a look at his performance in greater detail…
Two fine finishes from Campbell helped secure the win for Stoke, and subsequently take his tally up to nine goals in 28 Championship games this term.
At the weekend, Campbell was used as a wide player in a 4-2-3-1 set-up, a slightly different role to his usual centre-forward position, but he ended up excelling.
The 20-year-old was clinical, firing with two of his three shots in total finding the net, and the other one just going narrowly wide.
The attacker’s link-up play was also impressive, accruing a pass accuracy rate of 82% after finding 14 teammates from 17 passes.
Stoke’s pressing was hugely impressive at the weekend and it led to Campbell’s first goal, with Vokes chasing a long ball, putting a Barnsley man under pressure before pulling it back for Campbell to flick home.
Campbell’s pressing and work-rate was rewarded by making four interceptions in total, as well as having six touches inside the box – two of those touches leading to goals.
They were Campbell’s first goals since the season’s restart, and O’Neill will now be hoping that the young forward can go on a bit of a run in Stoke’s quest for survival.
If they replicate the same level of attacking performance they displayed at the weekend, then that quest should end up successful come the end of the season.