The goal came in a first half that the Baggies dominated and they could easily have led by more at the break. Mark Hughes’ side were much improved in the second half, but ultimately failed to seriously threaten the West Brom goal.
Hughes will rue the fact injuries forced him into making each of his substitutions, with Erik Pieters, Victor Moses and Jonathan Walters all succumbing to injury as his side’s three-match winning streak came to an end.
However, Pulis’ side were far superior, especially in the first half, as they pressed forward from the off and comfortably repelled Stoke on their rare forays forward.
Saido Berahino twice tested Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic in the first quarter of an hour from the edge of the box, with a wayward drive from Victor Moses the best the visitors could conjure up.
It was little surprise then when the Baggies took the lead. Craig Gardner had time to get his head up and pick out Ideye with his cross from the right. The Nigerian shrugged off the challenge of Phil Bardsley and stooped to head low into Begovic’s right-hand corner.
The striker felt he should have had a second soon after as Begovic failed to collect a simple through-ball. Ideye capitalised on the goalkeeper’s error to prod the ball home from close range, but he was correctly adjudged to be offside.
Albion had another chance to double their lead shortly before the Bosnian’s slip-up, as Craig Dawson played a wonderful through-ball down the right to Berahino, who burst into the box and fired narrowly wide of the far post. It was a tight angle and the youngster’s decision to shoot did not go down well with a couple of his team-mates, who were expecting a cut back.
Likely with the words of Hughes still ringing in their ears, Stoke started far quicker in the second period and a high ball into the box left Ben Foster wanting. The Albion goalkeeper was beaten the ball by Peter Crouch, before Walters fired over.
That proved to be Foster’s last action and, having received treatment for an injury, the England man was replaced by Boaz Myhill.
Shortly afterwards, Stoke engineered their best effort of the game. Marc Wilson crossed from the left and Walters’ flicked header looped goalwards and required Myhill to tip it over the crossbar.
West Brom responded with a spell of pressure of their own and Dawson had a decent shout for a penalty turned down by referee Michael Oliver after turning Geoff Cameron in the box. Cameron got nothing of the ball, but the fact that Dawson was highly unlikely to reach the ball before it went out of play surely worked in his favour.
A Crouch header straight at Myhill was the best Stoke could muster until stoppage time, when the former England striker got on to a bouncing ball over the top. Myhill rushed from his goal and brought down Crouch just outside the box. With the striker moving away from goal and a number of defenders covering Myhill escaped with just a yellow card. He will no doubt consider his decision justified, especially after seeing Marko Arnautovic put the resulting free-kick straight into the wall.
The win should put an end to any lingering relegation worries Baggies’ fans may have had, while Stoke remain in the top half of table.
Soccer Saturday verdict – Phil Thompson
“I think West Brom deserved the victory. They had more opportunities, they worked the goalkeeper a little bit more. They even lost their goalkeeper, Ben Foster had to come off and Myhill came on. All in all I think it was a good day’s work. Typical Tony Pulis – clean sheet, winning 1-0 and making sure the opposition don’t have too many chances.
“It was a great goal really. The ball got crossed in from the right-hand side and as the ball has come in, Brown Ideye has kept his eye on the ball and watched it coming over but it’s dreadful from Phil Bardsley the right-back. He thinks the ball is going over him but Ideye keeps his eye on the ball, stoops low down and puts it in the bottom corner.”
West Brom: Foster (4); Dawson (7), McAuley (7), Lescott (8), Brunt (6); Gardner (6), Morrison (6), Fletcher (8), Sessegnon (7); Berahino (7), Ideye (6).
West Brom subs: Myhill (6), Olsson (5), Baird (5).
Stoke: Begovic (6); Bardsley (6), Shawcross (5), Wilson (6), Pieters (5); Nzonzi (6), Whelan (5); Walters (5), Adam (4), Moses (5); Crouch (5).
Stoke subs: Cameron (5), Arnautovic (5), Diouf (5).
Man of the match: Darren Fletcher