DOMINIC Solanke scored the only goal as Cherries extended their lead at the top of the Championship table to six points, with a battling win at Stoke.

Neither side could find the breakthrough in a scrappy first half, but Solanke got the decisive goal early in the second period, following up to score after Ryan Christie’s effort was only parried by goalkeeper Adam Davies.

Jordan Thompson struck the woodwork in reply for Stoke, before Solanke did likewise for the visitors. But the striker’s earlier effort was enough to secure the 1-0 victory, keeping Cherries unbeaten, 13 matches into the campaign.

Scott Parker made just one change to the side which eased past Bristol City at the weekend. Goalscorer Jamal Lowe dropped to the bench, replaced by Jefferson Lerma. Ben Pearson returned from suspension to be named among the substitutes, with Leif Davis missing out.

There was no Robbie Brady in the matchday squad, with Cherries’ new signing still building up his fitness.

Stoke named former Cherries striker Sam Surridge on the bench, following his summer move from the south coast.

Michael O’Neill’s Potters looked for an early breakthrough as Jacob Brown broke beyond the defence in the opening seconds of the game, but he dragged his low effort past Mark Travers’s far post.

Christie’s corner then called Stoke stopper Davies into action, tipping the swirling set piece over the crossbar.

Jack Stacey’s low shot from the edge of the box was comfortable for Davies, before the full-back teed up the clearest opening of the half.

Stacey’s lung-busting run down the right was picked out by Christie, before the low cross was met in the middle by Philip Billing. The Dane turned just wide of the post on the slide.

Stoke were dealt a blow, losing midfielder Nick Powell to an ankle injury midway through the half after he was accidentally caught by Lerma.

The Potters could not muster a shot on target in the first half, but did look threatening when they put the ball into the box with Ben Wilmot heading a half chance wide as both sides went in goalless at the break.

But the deadlock was broken just six minutes into the second half. Christie shifted in from the right and his shot from 20 yards proved too hot for Davies to handle. Solanke followed it up, sliding in to score his ninth goal of the campaign, but just a second away from Vitality Stadium.

That seemed to spark Stoke into life, almost equalising immediately. Tommy Smith’s cross from the right was met by Thompson, who fired against the post. Sam Clucas threw himself at the rebound, but could not keep his effort down as Cherries survived.

O’Neill turned to his bench, introducing a familiar face in Cherries academy graduate Surridge for the final half an hour. He was given warm applause by the more-than 500 travelling supporters.

Cherries saw a penalty shout waved away when Jordan Zemura went over under a clumsy-looking Wilmot challenge, before Stoke added more firepower.

In the loudest noise of the night, striker Tyrese Campbell was brought on, making his long-awaited comeback having not featured since suffering a knee injury last December.

But it was Cherries’ star striker who went close to netting again. Solanke showed good footwork to find space in the box, before smashing his shot against the crossbar with Davies beaten.

Campbell looked like he may be about to make a dream return when the ball fell kindly to him in the box, but his low effort was fired straight at a grateful Travers.

Substitute Mario Vrancic had one final effort, his free-kick parried away by a diving Travers as Cherries saw out another clean sheet on the road.

Cherries: Travers; Stacey, Cahill, Kelly, Zemura; Kilkenny (Pearson, 83), Lerma, Billing (Mepham, 90+2); Christie (Lowe, 90+5), Anthony, Solanke.

Unused subs: Marcondes, Stanislas, Rogers, Nyland (g/k).

Booked: Kilkenny, Zemura.

Stoke: Davies; Wilmot, Souttar, Chester; Smith, Allen, Thompson, Clucas (Surridge, 60), Tymon; Powell (Vrancic, 28); Brown (Campbell, 70).

Unused subs: Batth, Sawyers, Fletcher, Bursik (g/k).

Booked: None.

Referee: Dean Whitestone.

Attendance: 18,427 (inc. 549 away).