3 3's Are Fine For The Potters
Saturday 20th November
Carson conceded three as Stoke City bagged the three points to potter on up the table, and collect a third consecutive victory. Not only that but they continue their remarkable run against their rivals, making the chant 'we always beat West Brom' a fact, with the stats showing that they haven't beaten us since September 2003.
Pulis put out an unchanged side at the Hawthorns, who had a fantastic performance against Liverpool at home last week. He was confident that the previous team selection could muster up the same quality and ambition that we have seen recently. Chris Foy was the referee today, who of course disallowed that much needed Stoke goal against Tottenham earlier on in the season. Foy turns 48 today but one thing was for sure, Stoke fans certainly wouldn`t be singing 'happy birthday' if another string of poor decisions denied any opportunities for points in this derby day.
First half frustrated fans as passing was poor and efforts on target were nonexistent. Jermaine Pennant's early exit with a suspected hamstring problem put a strain on the Stoke side, after he once again became playmaker to a couple of potential threats. However the announcement of Tuncay was good cover for the wicked winger, who will be thoroughly assessed on Monday. One of Albion's attacks must have been a ball to the face for one fan; Odemwingie blasted a long range effort, high over Asmir Begovic`s bar and into the stand. Stoke's reluctance to press the attackers, by keeping bodies in and around the penalty area, thankfully forced other Baggie attacks to fizzle out. Mulumbu however provided a spark, and skilfully struck an almost on target effort. Ex-Derby man Giles Barnes ploughed down the wing and whipped in a cross which put the Stoke defence in a bit of pickle, before they eventually scrambled the ball away. James Morrison was denied a certain goal by Shawcross who dealt well with a Barnes cross, from one or two yards off his line. Nearing to half time, Tuncay brought down Jerome Thomas on the edge of the area which prompted the whistle blow from Foy. A groan from the Stoke fans but then a groan from the West Brom fans as Odemwingie's free kick cleared the crossbar, failing to challenge our Bosnian ball stopper. Odemwingie attempted to make up for it by displaying sparkling ability, making Robert Huth and Dean Whitehead's defending drab, only to then scuff his shot straight to the clean grasp of Begovic. Half time was much anticipated as fans hoped that Pulis could pick up his Potters, to pull off a better performance and go for the win.
Second half commenced and within 10 minutes, referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot in our favour, giving us the opportunity to pull in front. Ricardo Fuller had space to shoot from 18 yards, after it was well worked in by Mathew Etherington and Dean Whitehead combined, but Kenwyne Jones had more space so received a squared ball. Baggie keeper Scott Carson ran out like a bull as he gambled with a slide on Jones`s first touch. However, quick reactions and quick feet from Jones just saw him dink the ball out of Carson`s reach. Carson made contact, Jones was brought down, no hesitation from Foy. Etherington put the ball on the spot and shot a speedy kick. Carson guessed right, he dived left, but the ball blasted to the back of the net. Roberto Di Matteo swiftly substituted James Morrison, for Simon Cox. Later on Barnes was taken off, and Somen Tchoyi was brought on to add the change of emphasis. Tchoyi almost proved to be the perfect sub as he crossed in a defensive frightener, but hearts restarted for Stoke as attackers failed to make any connection. Tchoyi certainly wasn`t going to give up the ghost; he firstly hit a screamer towards goal but Begovic saved brilliantly; then he went on to get a head on the end of a Thomas cross, but Danny Collins was there to take the sting out of it. Dugout action followed, with the replacement of Mulumbu with Graham Dorrans, and Jon Walters running on for Etherington. Marc Wilson later replaced Ricardo Fuller. Then along came another penalty for Stoke City. Tuncay received the ball from Whitehead, who then played a one two back to Whitehead as he sprinted to inside the area. He was brought down, and the whistle was blow. Could it be true? Foy pointing to the spot for another penalty? In favour of Stoke? Who'd of guessed? Even so it was a certain penalty, and fresh legs Walters stepped up to the mark. This time Carson didn`t guess right, he dived left, and the ball was blasted in once more. Walters scored his second for the Premier League and it was celebrated by a top notch, Potter roar. All was not over yet though. Begovic denied a way back into the match for the Baggies, as he dived to save Pablo Ibanez's scrappy effort. In the dying embers of the game, Jones was hot on the ball to play it to Walters. He fired one at goal but Cason coolly saved, only for it to land back at the feet of Walters. With quick reactions he then shot an absolute scorcher that almost broke the net. Full time and a 3 -0 win for the Potters!
West Bromwich Albion: Carson, Cech, Ibanez, Tamas, Jara, Scharner, Mulumbu (Dorrans, 79), Barnes (Tchoyi, 66), Morrison (Cox, 56), Thomas, Odemwingie.
Subs Not Used: Myhill, Reid, Shorey, Antione-Fortune.
Stoke City: Begovic, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Collins, Pennant (Tuncay, 11), Whitehead, Delap, Etherington (Walters, 79), Jones, Fuller (Wilson, 83).
Subs Not Used: Sorensen, Higginbotham, Whelan, Gudjohnsen.