Begovic heroics deny West Brom
19th October 2013 3pm
A world class performance from Asmir Begovic scuppered West Brom and rescued Stoke a point at the Britannia Stadium.
The Bosnian goalkeeper, who was in a buoyed mood after helping his nation qualify for their first World Cup in the week, made save after to save to thwart a luckless West Brom strike force.
Stoke`s failure to score once again means that the Staffordshire side have now only scored once in their last five league outings, which was the main cause of a few grumblings at the final whistle by the Stoke faithful.
Mark Hughes was forced into a number of changes as Marc Wilson, Matthew Etherington and Geoff Cameron were not fit enough to start, so Andy Wilkinson, Charlie Adam and Oussuma Assaidi all came into the starting line-up.
Steve Clarke made one change to his starting line-up that drew with Arsenal as Victor Anichebe started ahead of Nicolas Anelka.
The game was full of half chances for both sides, but the lack of a final killer touch, coupled with brilliant keeping meant the game ended goalless.
Sessegnon, who was a constant thorn in Stoke`s backline, was also most wasteful, as he had a number of golden chances thwarted by Begovic in the Stoke goal.
The Benin international ghosted past a duo of Potters defenders before delaying his shot which allowed the Bosnian stopper to save expertly at his feet.
Sessegnon then turned provided after being found expertly by Victor Anichebe on the edge of the area, he moved his feet quickly and found Morgan Amalfitano on the right hand side of the box, but Begovic was alert again and closed the Frenchman down at his feet before he could lift it over the Potters goalkeeper.
Stoke finally got somewhat of a foothold in the game and nearly opened the scoring from a brilliant free kick routine. Austrian Marko Arnautovic cleverly played a free kick into the vacant side of the penalty area, where Stephen Ireland managed to collect the ball and fire a shot across the face of the goal, but he could only win the Potters a corner.
After the break it was more of the same with West Brom looking the most threatening and they will feel aggrieved that they weren`t awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge by Charlie Adam on Youssouf Mulumbu. Mulumbu worked the ball past Adam who could only tread on the back of the midfielders heels, dislodging his boot but Howard Webb waved away the Baggies appeals.
With the Potters realised they got the rub of the green, it spurred them on to go in search of a winner, Arnautovic worked very well down the right flank and managed to drill a cross into the path of an onrushing Stephen Ireland, but unbalanced the loanee could only blaze over.
Adam then had an audacious attempt from the half way line as he looking to lob Baggies keeper Myhill, but the Welsh international managed to hurriedly backpedal and tip the ball over the bar.
The Potters continued to push and this time it was Ireland who was the provider for Arnautovic as he fizzed a ball across the face of the goal but the forward couldn`t stretch enough to divert the ball home.
With the game seemingly fading out, Sessengon nearly won it as he once again skipped past numerous Stoke defenders to only be denied by an onrushing Begovic once again.
With the keepers growing excellence, it does seem to be more of a matter of time and not if the former Portsmouth stopper will move on to bigger and better things.