Tom Ince’s first-half goal and a late Tyrese Campbell strike earned Stoke a 2-0 Emirates FA Cup win over Leyton Orient to book the Championship side a first fourth-round appearance since 2016.
Ince netted three minutes from half time and then provided the pass for substitute Campbell to settle the contest in the 89th minute.
But Kenny Jackett’s League Two visitors will feel they should have at least forced extra time in this first FA Cup meeting between the clubs.
Substitute Ruel Sotiriou missed a glorious chance with the score still at 1-0.
And Harry Smith, who had previously scored eight times in nine FA Cup ties, should have extended his sequence in the opening period.
Stoke’s dismal recent form, including back-to-back home defeats by Derby and Preston and one win in six outings, was reflected in the sparse attendance of 5,269.
And it was the 940 Orient fans who were in good voice as their side created a first-minute chance for striker Smith.
Jacob Brown was disappointed not to do better with a glancing header from Sam Clucas’s corner as Stoke replied.
But the visitors, 10th in the fourth tier, created the better opportunities. Paul Smyth twice engineered openings for Smith; the second of which saw the forward’s header brilliantly tipped over by debutant keeper Jack Bonham.
And Aaron Drinan headed over after 11 minutes when he should have scored.
Stoke did have the ball in the net after 23 minutes but Alfie Doughty was offside as he followed up a stinging Clucas drive Lawrence Vigoroux could not hold.
Doughty, however, was the catalyst for Ince’s fourth goal of the season.
Collecting James Chester’s crossfield pass, the former Charlton man surged forward before delivering an excellent left-wing cross Ince converted off the crossbar.
Once in front, Stoke began to dominate possession albeit with numerous unforced errors that kept Orient in a tight contest.
Chester could not direct a Clucas corner on target while Orient’s penalty appeals for handball against Demearco Duhaney left referee Sam Barrott (correct) unimpressed.
The official did brandish a yellow card for Alex Mitchell’s crude challenge on D’Margio Wright-Phillips after 71 minutes.
The son of Shaun Wright-Phillips and grandson of Ian Wright- both former FA Cup winners – had a quiet senior debut.
But at 20 and with Orient unable to find an equaliser, he will have future chances to enhance the family name.
Emre TezGel, as his 16-year-old replacement became City’s youngest ever player.
Orient had a second appeal for a penalty dismissed, Sotiriou fluffed his lines from a superb pass from star man Paul Smyth while Smith shot straight at Bonham before Campbell’s match clincher.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.