Stoke’s home league campaign began with a comfortable 2-0 win over Blackpool.
The Potters, who were bottom after a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Millwall on the opening weekend of the season, took control of the game after the half-hour mark.
Harry Clarke, on loan from Arsenal, nodded on his home debut to put the hosts ahead and a second-half strike from Jacob Brown tightened their grip on the draw.
The visiting Tangerines couldn’t capitalize on their loss to Reading last weekend, despite the best efforts of an influential Josh Bowler and a dynamic traveling support.
Michael O’Neill made his home debut for six of his Stoke players but the hosts started slowly in a tentative opening spell.
However, a new Potters attack led by newest rookie Dwight Gayle helped calm early nerves.
The former Newcastle striker combined well with Brown before unleashing a poisonous strike, but Daniel Grimshaw came through in the Blackpool goal.
Another new addition nearly gave the Potters the lead as they gradually grew in the game, but Josh Laurent’s precise effort hit the crossbar.
The Tangerines threatened to snatch an unlikely opener when Sonny Carey’s effort was nearly converted by Jerry Yates, but the latter couldn’t get enough conviction on his chilling head.
Yates’ failure proved to be a necessary wake-up call for the hosts as Will Smallbone then moved closer to finding the breakthrough, if not for a Rhys Williams block.
Stoke’s momentum increased and Blackpool’s stubborn defense quickly gave way as the two wingers combined and Clarke headed in for a tantalizing delivery from Josh Tymon after 34 minutes.
The home side’s dominance was unaffected by the interval and they nearly doubled their advantage soon after the restart.
A lively Tymon swung another dangerous cross into the area where Marvin Ekpiteta nearly inadvertently converted into his own net.
The Tangerine Orchestrator Bowler, who scored the winner at bet365 when the two sides met in March, threatened to equalize but his curling effort fell far short of the far post.
Callum Connolly nearly fired in a ferocious volley past the loyal travellers, while hitchhiker Grimshaw pulled off a miraculous save with his feet to deny Gayle.
However, any hope of a Blackpool leveler was extinguished after 75 minutes when Tymon got his second assist of the afternoon.
Presser Brown – Stoke’s top scorer with 13 league goals last season – opened his account for the season when he converted at the near post.
Despite the visitors’ best efforts to find their way back to a draw, the Potters defended resolutely to secure their first win and clean sheet of the season.