Stoke halted a run of three consecutive Premier League defeats in emphatic fashion with an impressive 3-1 away win over Bournemouth.
A first-half goal from Giannelli Imbula and second-half strikes from Ibrahim Afellay and Joselu were enough to secure the visitors all three points and move them up to ninth in the league table.
Bournemouth struggled to compete in the game but Matt Ritchie’s consolation goal just before the hour mark led to an exciting finish to the game as the Cherries pushed on to try and achieve a much-needed draw.
Stoke had lost 3-0 to Leicester, Manchester United and Everton in succession but the home side had a first half to forget and it took Stoke just nine minutes to break through the Cherries’ defence.
Simon Francis’ block fell straight to Imbula and the midfielder hit the ball on the volley straight into the bottom corner of the net, giving Artur Boruc no chance.
Bournemouth’s defence seemed to lose confidence after the goal and Jonathan Walters could have put the away side 2-0 up before half-time but the ball found the side netting, much to the disappointment of the travelling fans.
Howe’s men started the second half like a different side but despite a few early chances it was Stoke who found the back of the net again.
With only 10 men on the pitch due to an injury to Glen Johnson, Walters took on Harry Arter down the right before passing a beautifully timed ball to the oncoming Afellay, who finished first time.
Stoke striker Joselu was brought on to replace Johnson during the celebrations and had only been on the pitch a few minutes before his head met Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross to put Stoke 3-0 up.
Bournemouth were not going to give up easily and in the 57th minute Ritchie, one of two half-time substitutes, swept home a superb first-time left-foot effort from the edge of the box.
It spurred the home side on and they began to trouble the Stoke defence. Ritchie and Junior Stanislas came close to adding a second for Bournemouth but the Potters’ defence managed to stop any balls which made their way into the area.
There was a tense end to the game as Bournemouth desperately tried to get back into it and referee Graham Scott handed out a number of yellow cards to both sides.
Stoke successfully handled the added pressure to secure all three points as the result sees Bournemouth slip to just four points above the relegation zone.