Brentford came from behind to strengthen their automatic promotion push with a hard fought 2-1 win over Stoke in the Championship.
Vitaly Janelt equalised in the 56th minute after Jacob Brown had put the visitors ahead after just 27 seconds, but Ivan Toney’s 25th goal of the season secured the Bees a second successive victory.
Defeats for Swansea and Watford moved the second-placed Bees three points clear of the chasing pack.
Bees goalkeeper David Raya gifted the Potters a first-minute lead when he passed straight to Tommy Smith who squared for Brown to slide into an empty net.
The early goal gave Stoke the chance to turn the first half into a war of attrition largely fought out in midfield, with very few sights of goal.
Saman Ghoddos had the hosts’ first effort early on when he seized on a loose touch from Joe Allen but ran on to fire tamely wide from the edge of the box.
Stoke almost stretched their lead on the half hour when Smith touched on for Powell but Raya atoned for his early blunder with a point-blank stop.
The Bees had their best chance to level just before the break when a Ghoddos corner was met powerfully by the head of Winston Reid, but his effort flew just over.
It was a different game after the break though as Brentford visibly stepped up the pressure and tempo to leave Stoke looking stunned.
They came close within seconds of the restart when Bryan Mbeumo raced down the left and squared for Josh Dasilva whose close-range shot was blocked by the impressive Harry Souttar.
It was a temporary reprieve for the Potters as Brentford levelled when Janelt smashed home from the edge of the box after good work down the right from Tariqe Fosu.
Top scorer Toney’s speculative effort fizzed off the pitch and was held by City keeper Angus Gunn as the Bees upped the tempo.
Substitute Sergi Canos should have teed up Toney but his angled pass just had too much on it.
Ghoddos thought he had given his side the advantage in the 67th minute but his blistering 30-yard drive was brilliantly tipped over by Gunn at full stretch.
Stoke almost regained the lead in the 73rd minute when Jordan Cousins’ clever chip beat Raya but Reid headed clear from under the bar to deny Powell.
But it was the Bees who made their second-half pressure count. Henrik Dalsgaard’s lofted ball forward was flicked on by the head of Mbeumo to Toney, who slid home coolly.
The goal changed the complexion of the game and City were forced to come out and play, leaving gaps which Toney exploited but he could not find the target after good hold-up work from Ghoddos.
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