Stoke ease relegation fears with comfortable win over rivals

Picture - Goalkeeper Adam Davies impressed on his league debut

Stoke City took a big step towards safety in the Championship with a 2-0 victory over Birmingham.

Manager Michael O'Neill made two changes from the drubbing at Leeds.

Goalkeeper Jack Butland was ruled out with a neck injury while Nathan Collins dropped to the bench.

Stopper Adam Davies came in for his league debut while James Chester returned in defence.

The Potters started on the front, Sam Vokes saw a header come crashing back off the bar, while Nick Powell was denied by an excellent save by Lee Camp.

So it was no surprise, when the hosts took the lead on 12 minutes, a short corner ended with Powell's cross to the far post where Danny Batth slid in to open the scoring.

James McClean was denied by an excellent save from Camp before the Irishman saw a shot skim the bar.

But Stoke doubled their lead on the stroke of half time thanks to a sumptuous finish from Sam Clucas.

Victory lifted the Potters into 17th place in the table and above Birmingham on goal difference.

Stoke are now four points above the relegation zone with three games to play, the first of which is on Wednesday away at Bristol City.

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