Stoke 3-1 Walsall
Last updated on .From the section Football
Stoke advanced to the Capital One Cup third round after a Kenwyne Jones hat-trick sealed victory over Walsall.
The striker gave much-changed Stoke the lead with an emphatic finish after Walsall were caught in possession.
He then doubled their lead from close range after Walsall failed to clear a corner, but Dean Smith's men pulled one back when Ashley Hemmings fired past Thomas Sorensen.
Jones sealed it, firing under Richard O'Donnell after being sent clear.
Stoke made eight changes for the game but took the lead in the 22nd minute when the visitors squandered possession and Jones made the most of the opportunity, cutting inside and firing home.
It was his first goal since January, and the Trinidad and Tobago striker took only nine minutes to add another, rifling into the net from close range after the ball had dropped at his feet from a corner.
It was all fairly comfortable for the Potters, but Walsall did show some signs of promise in the first half.
And after Charlie Adam had been denied by the leg of Saddlers goalkeeper Richard O'Donnell early in the second period, the visitors got themselves back in the game through Hemmings' 57th-minute strike.
Stoke subsequently regained control of the contest, with both Andy Wilkinson and Robert Huth putting the ball in the net but having their efforts ruled out.
And Jones then completed his treble in the 84th minute, racing on to a through-ball and finishing coolly.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes:
"I'm really pleased for Kenwyne because he worked really hard in pre-season and up to now hasn't had that many opportunities.
"He acquitted himself really well, put himself about and showed the energy and power that he has.
"He's a great guy and we want him to be successful here. He's got all the attributes but, for whatever reason, it hasn't quite happened here as he would have liked.
"He's got an opportunity; we're playing in a slightly different way now and I think that will suit him."
Walsall boss Dean Smith:
"I'm really proud of the lads. They gave it a good go and the effort that they put in can't be faulted.
"We gave them the first goal; it was sloppy play and then I felt that there was a foul on James Chambers in the build-up to the corner which led to their second.
"We could have easily folded after that, particularly against such quality opposition, but we put in a positive second half performance which gave them a scare and stretched them.
"Some of our play was outstanding. It was a great move for our goal and this display will give us plenty of belief."