Sunday, 11 May 2014

West Bromwich Albion 1-2 Stoke City match report Sunday 11th May 2014

Stoke City capped off an excellent season with a 2 - 1 victory over struggling West Bromwich Albion in what could well be Baggies' boss Pepe Mel's last game in charge at The Hawthorns.
An own goal from Gareth McCauley and a fine strike from Charlie Adam cancelled out an equaliser from Stephane Sessegnon and give the Potter's only their third away win of the season.
Stoke took control of the match from the first whistle with former Baggies' man and pantomime villain Peter Odemwingie intent on scoring against his old side despite the hostile reception he received from the home fans.
West Brom had the first clear chance when an in-swinging corner from the left hand side by Graham Dorrans resulted in a goalmouth scramble which saw the ball fired onto the underside of the crossbar and appear to cross the line but goal line technology correctly suggested otherwise.
The away side responded by creating numerous opportunities from both flanks through Marko Arnautovic and Odemwingie and were finally rewarded for their dominance after 22 minutes.
Arnautovic picked the ball up on the left hand corner of the six yard box and his cross along the six yard line was turned into his own net by defender Gareth McCauley.
With the home team safe from relegation, some of the players appeared to have their towels already on the beach but in the second half they finally kicked into gear.

With 56 minutes gone Graham Dorrans was able to exploit some space in front of the Potters' defence and his pass to full back Craig Dawson on the right touch line was cut back to the penalty spot where Sessegnon finished impeccably with his left foot past keeper Thomas Sorensen.

The away side were almost back in front after the restart when a long ball from defence was collected on the left hand side by Arnautovic and the Austrian curled a shot with his right foot that hit the outside of the post. 

England keeper Ben Foster typified the calamitous performance of West Brom's defence when a throw-out and a sky-shot both ended in gifting corners to Stoke, much to the delight of the jeering away fans.

At the other end Baggies midfielder Yousouff Mulumbu almost won the match when he met a chipped pass over the defence by Saido Berahino on the right hand side of the box but his venomous shot across Sorensen’s goal came off the outside of the post and went out for a goal kick.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes brought on former Liverpool players Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam to try and finish off their season with a win and with a few minutes to go it was Adam who struck the winner in some style. The Scotsman picked the ball up 40 yards out and drove at the West Brom defence through the middle of the pitch before firing a superb finish past Foster to send the away fans home happy and Baggies boss Pepe Mel facing the exit door. 

After the game Mel said he would like to stay in charge at The Hawthorns but added that his fate will be decided early next week.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes praised his team for buying into his way of thinking and successully changing the way they play which saw them end the season in ninth position with 50 points - their best since 1975.

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