Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Sunday April 8 2007
April 7th 2007
Ricardo Fuller powered Stoke City back into real contention for a play-off place with another goal and two assists in a great display at The Hawthorns that saw the Potters 3-0 up after only 22 minutes.
A large contingent of travelling fans on a warm Easter Saturday saw a good all round display from a Stoke side that have suddenly rekindled the sort of form that they had in the first half of the season.
Three goals in seven magical minutes from Fuller, an own goal from Greening (ably assisted by Jon Parkin) and a goal from Parkin himself two minutes later gave no chance for any Baggies comeback.
Stoke had started with Dominic Matteo being recalled from the treatment room in the absence through injury of Darel Russell and Salif Diao. Lee Hendrie had to make do with a place on the subs' bench as he recovers full fitness, but Carl Dickenson was handed his first start of the season as he replaced the suspended Andy Griffin in a reshuffled defence.
After an early period of pressure from the Baggies, the Potters' first goal arrived in the 14th minute with Ricardo Fuller evading the defence and slipped the ball neatly past the keeper, Kiely for the opener. Six minutes later it was Fuller again, taking the ball to the byline and crossing the ball into a crowded penalty area where Jonathan Greening had no problem diverting it over his own line under pressure from Jon Parkin. Parkin then made sure of his own place on the score sheet a couple of minutes later with a neat cross from that man Fuller which fell just in front of him and he had no problem rifling it in from eight yards.
Who could have predicted that?
Half time saw West Brom throw three subs on together with the kitchen sink in a desperate attempt to salvage a game that was already all but lost. Hodgkiss had a goal disallowed for off-side for West Brom, but Koumas's 74th minute consolation goal after he wrong footed Steve Simonsen gave the quiet home supporters a small glimmer of hope but it all ended with a great win for the Potters.
The only dark cloud on a beautiful day was the 17th minute injury to Mama Sidibe. He required 10 stitches to his Achilles and after leaving the ground on crutches is likely to miss the next two weeks.
The Dream is still on.................. Bring on Palace on Monday.
West Brom: Kiely, Albrechtsen, McShane, Sodje (Hodgkiss 46), Robinson, Koren, Greening (Carter 46), Chaplow, Koumas, Phillips (MacDonald 46), Ellington.
Subs not used: Gera, Kamara.
Booked: Phillips, Carter.
Goals: Koumas 74.
Stoke City: Simonsen, Hoefkens, Fortune, Zakuani, Higginbotham, Lawrence, Eustace, Matteo, Dickinson, Sidibe (Parkin 17), Fuller (Martin 90), Parkin (Hendrie 65).
Subs not used: Hoult, Vass.
Booked: Higginbotham, Fuller, Hendrie.
Goals: Fuller 14, Greening 21 og, Parkin 22.
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Date:Sunday April 8 2007
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