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Stoke resist Brentford fightback as Tyrese Campbell inspires Potters to victory

Stoke City v Brentford – Sky Bet Championship – bet365 Stadium
(Image credit: Barrington Coombs)

Stoke survived a spirited comeback to stun Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls Brentford with a battling 3-2 win at the bet365 Stadium.

Goals from Steven Fletcher, James McClean and Tyrese Campbell did the damage as Michael O’Neill’s impressive side held on to triumph on their home patch.

Substitute Marcus Forss pulled a goal back with 20 minutes remaining and bagged a second in stoppage time in a frantic finish to proceedings.

However, Stoke held on for maximum points as O’Neill’s resilient charges stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches in all competitions.

Former Scotland international Fletcher headed the hosts ahead in the ninth minute with his second goal in three league games.

And Republic of Ireland winger McLean doubled the lead with a deflected strike which wrong-footed goalkeeper David Raya 10 minutes before half-time.

It was McClean’s first goal for three months having last scored back in July.

Campbell made sure of victory on the hour mark when he drilled past Raya with a sweet strike.

Fletcher gave Stoke the perfect start with the first chance of the game on a rain-soaked afternoon at the bet365 Stadium.

A move started by a bursting run from McClean, led to Campbell crossing from the left flank and Fletcher nodding home, unmarked, at the back post. Brentford’s defending was nowhere to be seen.

Midway through the half defender Ethan Pinnock hit the target with a clever snapshot from Saman Ghoddos’ dangerous inswinging corner, but Fletcher was there to block the effort in his own six-yard box.

Midfielder Jacob Brown, making only his second league start of the season, then forced Raya into a smart save from his goalbound header from a McClean cross.

Stoke were buoyant and two minutes later it was McClean, also making his second league start of the season, who doubled the Potters’ advantage.

The winger latched on to a neat through ball from Campbell and his left-foot rocket shot deflected off defender Charlie Goode and wrong-footed Raya to sneak inside the near post.

Brentford rallied after the break and in the 55th minute Josh Dasilva tried his luck with an ambitious lob from the right edge of the box, but it landed on the roof of the net.

Not long after Sergi Canos cut inside and hit the target, but Stoke keeper Adam Davies made a comfortable save.

But then the sucker punch came for the visitors as Stoke countered and effectively sealed the points when Campbell fired home for his second goal in two games having netted in his side’s 2-2 home draw with Barnsley on Wednesday.

The striker, son of former Everton and West Brom marksman Kevin, drilled a fine effort beyond Raya to leave the Bees with a mountain to climb.

Fletcher pulled the trigger inside the Brentford box in the 67th minute, but Goode produced a superb sliding block to prevent Stoke inflicting any further damage.

Forss then converted Ivan Toney’s flick-on with a drilled finish to get the Potters panicking.

Dasilva soon shot over and Canos drilled a shot just wide of the left upright, before Forss netted again in stoppage time, rounding Davies and firing into the bottom left corner.

But Stoke held on to make sure of maximum points despite the Bees’ best efforts.