Potters cruise to Hawthorns win

Matthew Etherington’s penalty put the visitors 1-0 up in the 55th
minute on Saturday after referee Chris Foy adjudged Scott Carson to
have fouled Kenwyne Jones. Substitute Jon Walters converted another
spot-kick with five minutes of normal time remaining and then
bagged his second at the death to make it three wins out of three
for the Potters. That takes Tony Pulis’ side, only recently
hovering around the relegation places, up to eighth in the table as
they built on victories over Birmingham and Liverpool. The result
brings more disappointment for the Baggies, though, who have now
lost four of their last five league fixtures. The hosts looked to
make an early impression with Peter Odemwingie having a shot
deflected wide in the first minute. The Nigeria striker then
whipped a free-kick straight into the arms of Asmir Begovic, but
Stoke were soon launching an attack of their own, with Jermaine
Pennant just unable to control his attempted cross having collected
the ball in the box from Etherington. It seemed Pennant had picked
up an injury and within seconds he was withdrawn, Pulis throwing
Tuncay Sanli into the fray. Odemwingie almost found himself in the
clear as he tried to bring down Carson’s long kick but Foy halted
the action to speak to Ricardo Fuller and Gabriel Tamas, who had
been involved in a flare-up. Odemwingie then drilled a low shot
straight at Begovic before Youssouf Mulumbu rifled an effort from
outside the area which rose too high too soon. Albion upped the
tempo slightly with Giles Barnes sending in a series of crosses
from the right flank around the half-hour mark. One fell to Jerome
Thomas, who struck the ball against a Stoke shirt, while another
was just inches away from being met by James Morrison’s head.
Fuller was crowded out in the box at the other end before he could
fashion a strike and Odemwingie blasted a free-kick over the bar
after Tuncay had brought down Thomas. Odemwingie then twisted and
turned but could only hit a tame effort which Begovic gathered
comfortably. The Baggies began the second period brightly, with
Thomas sending in a cross that bounced off Odemwingie’s knees and
Morrison just beaten to a delivery by Barnes. But 10 minutes after
the restart, it was the Potters who opened the scoring. Fuller
picked up the ball after Albion failed to clear a cross and laid it
to Jones, who initially appeared to have let it slip past him but
got a touch just as Carson was diving at his feet. Although contact
looked to be minimal, the Trinidad and Tobago frontman went down in
the box and Foy awarded the penalty which Etherington then calmly
dispatched into the bottom corner. Baggies boss Roberto Di Matteo
responded by introducing Simon Cox for Morrison and after Dean
Whitehead sent an effort high over the bar, Somen Tchoyi was the
next man to come off the home bench in place of Barnes. Tchoyi was
straight into the thick of things and angled a low delivery into
the danger zone which Stoke managed to kick away. The Cameroonian
then saw his header from Thomas’ cross tipped over by Begovic as
the hosts piled on the pressure. Marek Cech blazed over soon after
and Cox’s low shot from distance deflected wide before Di Matteo
made his final substitution, with Graham Dorrans replacing Mulumbu.
Odemwingie thought he had been fouled having fallen in the box
under the attentions of Robert Huth, but it was Stoke who won
another penalty in the 85th minute. Whitehead was clattered by Cox
as he ran on to a Tuncay pass and Walters – on moments earlier for
Etherington – converted the spot-kick. Walters was not finished
there either, receiving the ball from Jones’ flick in stoppage time
and having one shot blocked before beating Carson to wrap up a
comprehensive win.