West Brom 2-1 Stoke: Baggies trouser a win

Date published: Saturday 2nd January 2016 6:01

West Brom Football365

Jonny Evans scored a late winner as West Brom beat Stoke 2-1 at The Hawthorns.

Evans poked home from three yards in the closing stages against 10-man Stoke, who had fought back from a goal down.

Stephane Sessegnon handed the hosts the lead, the midfielder breaking clear and finishing well past Jack Butland after being released by James Morrison on the hour mark.

Jon Walters equalised with 10 minutes remaining, but Geoff Cameron was sent off shortly thereafter, with Evans capitalising on the one-man advantage in injury time.

Defeat ended Stoke’s winning run and Mark Hughes’ side struggled to create clear openings with Boaz Myhill saving from Glen Johnson and Marko Arnautovic before Walters struck.

Albion, who again left Saido Berahino on the bench, named 16-year-old striker Tyler Roberts as a substitute to underline their chronic lack of options, with suspended record buy Salomon Rondon watching from the stands.

Unchanged Stoke were chasing a third straight win and twice came close during a forgettable first half as first, Myhill beat away Johnson’s 18-yard drive before collecting Arnautovic’s effort from inside the box.

Albion struggled to create openings themselves but Evans did poke wide inside the opening 10 minutes.

It was a battle of attrition with the visitors and while the Baggies had carved the better chance, Stoke showed they had the ability to unlock the hosts.

Bojan and Xherdan Shaqiri were closely watched but the pair showed flashes of quality which was out of character in a poor game.

But Darren Fletcher wasted the best chance of the half when he fired wide from 15 yards after Rickie Lambert’s dummy three minutes before the break.

Stoke were the better side but continued to be driven down dead ends by the organised Baggies. The visitors also struggled to make serious inroads before the deadlock was finally broken by Sessegnon on the hour.

It was Albion’s first neat move of the game as Fletcher combined with Yacob to slip Sessegnon through and the midfielder buried high past Jack Butland.

It was just his seventh Baggies goal in two and a half years and first since he scored in a 2-2 draw against Manchester United in October 2014.

Stoke tried to hit back and Myhill blocked Arnautovic’s angled effort but they lacked the conviction and confidence showed in their 4-3 win at Everton last time out.

James Morrison drove straight at Butland with 12 minutes left but Stoke levelled out of the blue three minutes later.

Albion had looked comfortable despite their slender lead but they switched off to allow Walters to meet Joselu’s delightful cross and crash in a header from four yards.

But Stoke’s celebrations turned to frustration with seven minutes left when Cameron was sent off.

The midfielder reacted to Yacob’s challenge by pushing the midfielder on the back of the neck and sending him to the ground, leaving referee Lee Mason with little option but to produce a red card.

And Stoke paid the price in the third minute of injury time when they failed to clear Craig Gardner’s corner and Evans prodded in from close range.

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