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up an injury and within seconds he was withdrawn, Pulis throwing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.