Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Monday November 27 2006
A penalty from Danny Higginbotham was enough to earn the Potters all three points and send them into 6th place in the Championship.
Darel Russell was floored by a late tackle from Martin Albrechtsen in the 39th minute and Danny Higginbotham stepped up to earn his fourth goal of the season with a well hit shot that was outside the reach of Russell Hoult.
A good home crowd and a large travelling support from West Brom saw a slow start by both sides until Mama Sidibe had the ball in the net on 11 minutes after Lee Hendrie shot had been deflected by the keeper to Vincent Pericard who passed it on to Sidibe to knock home from 5 yards, but the linesman judged Pericard to be offside and the goal was disallowed.
The Baggies were allowed few opportunities to test Steve Simonsen, West Brom striker, Kevin Phillips having the best chances but was first denied by Simonsen and headed over for the second.
In the second half, Stoke looked more comfortable and showed why they have the best defensive record in the division, whilst West Brom sacrificed Albrechtsen to allow Gera to come on and attempt to increase the pressure. Pulis reacted by giving Berger his debut in place of Pericard and although the 33 year old did not look match fit, the promise of good things to come was epitomised by some good moves with his Villa colleague.
On the negative side, Stoke never seemed to have the bite in the final third to really finish the Baggies off. Whilst Sidibe climbed high for every ball, Pericard (or anyone else) never looked able to land the final blow. Therefore, West Brom threatened to spoil the Potters' party until the final whistle.
All in all, a comfortable win for Stoke without the need for a real first class performance - let's save that for the visit of the high flying Bluebirds on Tuesday....
Stoke: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Griffin, Lawrence, Russell, Diao, Hendrie (Hill 90), Sidibe, Pericard (Berger 67)
Subs not used: Bangoura, Sweeney, Buxton
West Brom: Hoult, Albrechtsen (Gera 63), Perry, Davies, Robinson, Koumas, Carter, Quashie, Greening, Phillips, Kamara (Ellington 77)
Subs not used: Steele, Watson, McShane.
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Date:Monday November 27 2006
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