Stoke City 1-2 West Bromwich Albion – Match Review

Graham Dorrans struck a late free kick to earn West Brom their first win of 2012 as they narrowly beat Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

The Potters thought they had claimed a point after Cameron Jerome equalised five minutes from time after James Morison had given Roy Hodgson’s men the lead just before the break. But Scotland midfielder Dorrans had other ideas firing home through a crowd of players in stoppage time to hand the Baggies their first three points of the New Year. The defeat will come a huge blow to Stokes chances of qualifying for the Europa League this season and boss Tony Pulis will be disappointed with Jon Walters after missed a penalty in the second half that could have changed the game in their favour. For West Brom boss Hodgson he will be delighted that his players managed to grind out a result, ease the clubs relegation fears and justify the decision to leave striking duo Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie on the bench.

After three defeats on the trot it was important that the visitors started brightly with Jerome Thomas testing Thomas Sorensen early on. The Danish keeper then produced a wonderful save to keep out Morison’s fizzing drive tipping the ball onto the underside of the bar. However his good work would be undone 10 minutes before half time as he failed to correct his position in time to keep out Morison’s strike that changed direction in the wind with Sorensen only managing to get a hand to the ball before the Scottish midfielder was denied again after the restart seeing his effort beat Stoke keeper only for the ball to bounce back off the bar. Having enjoyed very little in the first half the home side were presented with a chance to level things up with 20 minutes to go.

Gareth McAuley’s clumsy foul on Walters saw referee Anthony Taylor signal for a penalty only for the former Ipswich striker striker to see his spot kick saved brilliantly by Ben Foster. With the game slipping away Pulis threw Jerome on in place of Ryan Shotton and the change paid instant dividends as he met fellow substitute Jermaine Pennant’s free kick to bring Stoke level with only five minutes left. However that wasn’t the end of the scoring as Dorrans’ free kick from the left found it’s way through into the bottom corner of Sorensen’s goal to secure a deserved victory for the Baggies.