Writer: Lloyd Reddin
Date:Sunday December 2 2012
1st December 2012 3pm
Attendance: 24, 739
A rare Dean Whitehead goal gave Stoke City their first away victory of the season and extended the Potter's unbeaten run to 5 games.
Stoke's away victory, their first since January 2nd at Ewood Park, had propelled Tony Pulis' side to 9th in the league after completing a hat-trick of wins in 7 days.
The defeat for West Brom, their second in a row, has left them on the edge of dropping out of the Champions League qualification positions.
Stoke were forced into making one change from the side that beat both Newcastle and Fulham as the 'toothless' Peter Crouch made way for Trinidad and Tobago international Kenwyne Jones. Stoke were left with a late scare as Michael Owen pulled up in the warm up and was replaced my Maurice Edu on the bench.
Wednesday night`s match winner, Cameron Jerome didn't even make the Stoke subs bench as he picked up a knock in training, leaving Stoke with no recognised striker on the bench.
West Brom made an incredible 6 changes after their midweek defeat. Peter Clarke changed his entire strike force as Swedish international Marcus Rosenberg, making his first start for the Baggies, replaced Peter Odenwengie whilst West Brom's top goal scorer so far this season, Shane Long replaced on loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.
In a game that lacked any real quality, Stoke were the first to come closest to opening the scoring, as Charlie Adam linked up well with Matthew Etherington on the left and swung in an inviting ball for Jones who attacked the ball well but could only watch his header go narrowly wide of Myhill`s post.
West Brom controlled much of the possession, which Stoke seemed happy with as they easily soaked up any pressure from the home side. West Brom did nearly grab the lead just before half time though as right back Steven Reid tried an audacious free kick from the halfway line, but Bosnian goalkeeper Asmir Begovic was awake and saw away the chance comfortably.
The second half was more of the same and saw West Brom grab an even stronger grip of the possession as Stoke looked to defend and try to catch the high-flyers on the counter attack.
Tony Pulis made two subs on the hour mark seeing Matthew Etherington and Charlie Adam make way for Michael Kightly and Dean Whitehead, and for the second time in a week Pulis` tweaks made the telling impact.
After a long lump forward, Kenwyne Jones hassled West Brom`s centre half Martin Olsson, who had several opportunities to get rid of any danger but got into trouble in the corner and the ball fell to former Wolves midfielder Michael Kightly who drove in the box and cleverly cross the ball with the outside of his boot to find fellow substitute Dean Whitehead who managed to volley home to send the 2,500 Stoke fans who made the short trip to the Hawthorns into raptures.
West Brom tried to grab an equaliser in the last 15 minutes, throwing on Lukaku and Odenwengie but Stoke stood firm like they had done all through the 90 minutes and came away with their first away victory of the season and their 7th clean sheet.
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Date:Sunday December 2 2012
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|11. Crystal Palace||33||11||9||13||-3||42|
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