Writer: Charlie Bennett
Date:Saturday April 4 2009
Stoke recorded a memorable day in their history as they picked up their first away premier league win. Goals from the deadly duo, Ricardo Fuller and James Beattie, were more than enough to crown an all round exquisite performance. This vital win moves Stoke six points clear of relegation and up to 13th spot.
Tony Pulis made only one change from the home triumph over Middlesbrough as Mathew Etherington made an expected returned to the side replacing the out of sorts Salif Diao, who has recently been spending time with his family abroad.
Stoke were on the buzzer from the kick off and took the lead after two minutes as poor defending from West Brom`s Shelton Martis saw Fuller take full advantage. As the ball looped over Martis the Jamaican was first to the ball and cut inside to the edge of the box where he fired a low, crisp shot under Scott Carson to send away fans crazy. Albion almost fell further behind as Carson spectacular save prevented Glenn Whelan`s free-kick from finding the top corner.
West Brom finally woke up and moved the ball around the Potters and created chances for James Morrison and Jay Simpson. In the away side`s goal Thomas Sorensen was outstanding as he clutched on to every cross and shot that came his way in one of his best Stoke performances.
Brazilian style football from the Potters saw Etherington squander a golden opportunity for a second. Neat touches from the creative Whelan, Lawrence and Fuller sent the former Spurs player through on goal with only Carson to beat, but from a wider angle than he would have liked, he dragged his shot inches past the far post.
West Brom should have equalised before half-time, as a deep James Morrison cross found left-back Paul Robinson un-marked as he lost both Wilkinson and Lawrence. The home fan favourite rushed the chance as an almost certain goal saw, instead, the ball trickle off his chest into Sorensen`s open arms.
That was as good as it got for the Baggies, as soon after half-time, the Potters put the game to bed through in-form striker James Beattie. Fuller and Etherington combined down the left before the speedy winger, who troubled Albion throughout, found room behind right-back Gianni Zuiverloon. After being tackled the ball found a way through to the opportunistic Beattie whose shot was too hot for Carson to handle as it buried itself in the corner to effectively settle the tie.
The entire home crowd at The Hawthorns was flat and dejected but in contrast the legions of Stokies were looking too celebrate long into the night.
Chris Brunt tried his best to swing the momentum as he catapulted a 25yrd pile driver that rattled the cross bar and sent out a warning to the stable defence consisting of the tremendous Abdoulaye Faye and Ryan Shawcross at its heart.
West Brom manager Tony Mowbray threw on Roman Bednar, Filipe Texeira and Robert Koren, the latter later had the ball in the net. His long range shot was ruled out for offside against Marc-Antoine Fortune who deflected the effort past the wrong-footed Sorensen.
The last few minutes were played out with Stoke`s backs against the wall and only great blocks from Whelan, sub Danny Pugh and Captain Abdoulaye Faye prevented West Brom from getting their names on the score sheet.
The huge victory leaves the Potters in 13th after recording that elusive away win and more importantly six points clear of 18th placed Newcastle. The Magpies are the next to visit Stoke on-Trent as the Potteries gets ready for a crucial double header against Newcastle and Blackburn.
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Date:Saturday April 4 2009
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