West Brom 0 Stoke 1: Whitehead strikes late to further dent Baggies' flying start
17:32 GMT, 1 December 2012
Stoke continued their dominance against West Brom as substitute Dean Whitehead scored a late winner in the Barclays Premier League clash at The Hawthorns.
Whitehead converted a cross from fellow substitute Michael Kightly to earn the Potters their first away league win since January.
Tony Pulis' side have taken 13 points from the last five games, while for the fifth-placed Baggies it was a second setback in the space of 72 hours following Wednesday night's 3-1 loss at Swansea.
Job done: Dean Whitehead scores the decisive goal for Stoke
Chase is on: Markus Rosenberg (right) attempts to hold off Ryan Shotton
West Brom: Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Popov, McAuley, Yacob (Brunt 81), Dorrans, Mulumbu, Gera (Odemwingie 64), Rosenberg (Lukaku 64), Long
Subs not used: Daniels, Ridgewell, Tamas, Morrison
Stoke City: Begovic, Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Shotton, Whelan, Nzonzi, Adam (Whitehead 65), Etherington (Kightly 59), Jones, Walters
Subs not used: Sorensen, Upson, Wilkinson, Palacios, Edu
Booked: Huth, Shawcross, Adam
Goal: Whitehead 75
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Stoke's victory means Albion have
failed to defeat them in front of their own fans for nine years and they
have triumphed only twice in the last 30 league meetings.
They have won all four Premier League encounters at The Hawthorns without conceding a goal.
Kenwyne Jones made his first Premier League start of the season in place
of the injured Peter Crouch and was a constant threat to the West Brom
Albion drew a blank at home for the
first time this season and seldom looked like finding a way through the
Stoke back four in which skipper Ryan Shawcross was outstanding.
Youssouf Mulumbu gave his usual solid display in midfield while defender Gareth McAuley made several crucial challenges.
But Albion lacked their usual spark
in the attacking third of the pitch as they missed the opportunity to
reclaim third spot after Chelsea's lunchtime defeat against West Ham.
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke
made six changes from the side beaten at Swansea in midweek and handed a
debut to Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg.
Sliding in: Ryan Shawcross goes in hard on Graham Dorrans
Battle: Robert Huth (left) attempts to take the ball from the feet of Shane Long
Tussle: Dorrans tries to find a way past Steven N'Zoni at The Hawthorns
ones came close to breaking the deadlock in the 14th minute after a quiet opening to the game.
The Trinidad & Tobago international got on the end of a cross from
Geoff Cameron and directed his header back across goal and only inches
wide of the post.
Shawcross produced a fine tackle to
halt the run of Graham Dorrans on the edge of the Stoke box after a
reverse pass from Rosenberg.
Robert Huth blocked a fierce drive
from Mulumbu after Dorrans had found him in space but neither goalkeeper
had a save to make in the opening half-hour.
Huth became the first player to be yellow-carded after 35 minutes for bringing down Shane Long.
Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic had to back-pedal to parry a speculative dipping 40-yard attempt from Steven Reid over the bar.
Charlie Adam became the second Stoke player to be booked a minute before half-time for a foul on Zoltan Gera.
Goal-den boy: Tony Pulis puts his arm around his goalscorer
Wheeling away: Whitehead (left) and Jon Walters (right) celebrate
Shawcross followed him into referee Kevin Friend's notebook shortly after the restart after bringing down Long.
Begovic dealt comfortably with Jonas
Olsson's looping header from Long's cross as clear-cut chances continued
to be at a premium.
Pulis replaced Matthew Etherington with former Wolves winger Michael Kightly after 59 minutes.
Clarke then brought on forward players Romelu Lukaku and Peter Odemwingie for the ineffective Rosenberg and Gera.
Hounded: Goran Popov (right) is pursued by Walters
Come here: Youssouf Mulumbu (right) leaves Charlie Adam in his wake
McAuley produced a superb tackle inside the Baggies box to halt Jones in full flight.
But after 75 minutes Stoke broke the deadlock after a rare mistake by Jonas Olsson.
The centre-back tried to keep the
ball in play when challenging Jones but only succeeded in finding
Kightly. He ran unopposed into the Albion area and his low cross was
turned home by Whitehead.
Begovic parried a Dorrans drive but Stoke held out with relative ease for the three points.