Stoke proved too strong for Cheltenham in the second round of the Carling Cup.
The visitors made 10 changes from their Premier League game last Saturday and Glenn Whelan's free-kick put them ahead after 51 minutes.
Richard Cresswell raced clear to slot in Stoke's second before Ashley Vincent drilled in a shot for Cheltenham.
But Jon Parkin fired in to add to Stoke's lead, while Alex Russell's rasping strike earned Cheltenham a late consolation goal seconds from the end.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis told BBC Radio Stoke:
"We played a team to win the game, we didn't come here to mess around and I think we deserved to win."
"It was an entertaining game. We created lots of chances and the two shots they had on target they scored."
"Cheltenham obviously wanted to have a go at a Premier League side and it was never going to be a walk in the park."
Cheltenham: Higgs, Jeremy Gill, Townsend, Duff (Gallinagh 61), Wright, Armstrong, Lindegaard, Ben Gill (Caines 79), Russell, Vincent (Ledgister 88), Connor. Subs Not Used: Scott P Brown, Ridley, Watkins, Emery.
Goals: Vincent 57, Russell 90.
Stoke: Simonsen, Wilkinson (Shotton 90), Buxton, Shawcross, Dickinson (Demar Phillips 79), Cresswell, Diao (Matteo 75), Whelan, Pugh, Parkin, Pericard. Subs Not Used: De Laet, Jimmy Phillips, Wedderburn.
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