Jonny Evans snatches late victory for West Brom over Stoke
Published 02/01/2016 | 17:21
Jonny Evans struck in stoppage time to clinch a gritty 2-1 win for West Brom over 10-man Stoke.
The defender poked in his first Baggies goal just as it looked like Jonathan Walters' equaliser had rescued a point for the visitors.
Stephane Sessegnon's first goal in over a year had given Albion a second-half lead and Tony Pulis has now won three straight games against his former club.
Geoff Cameron was also sent off with seven minutes left for reacting to a challenge from Claudio Yacob.
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 f irst, 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.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
@WBAFCOfficial: "Evans' injury-time strike means Albion secure a league double over Stoke for the first time since 1976/77."
Boaz Myhill: 6
Craig Dawson: 6
Jonny Evans: 7
Gareth McAuley: 6
Chris Brunt: 6
Claudio Yacob: 7
Darren Fletcher: 7
Craig Gardner: 7
James Morrison: 6
Stephane Sessegnon: 7
Rickie Lambert: 6
Callum McManaman: 6
Saido Berahino: 6
Jack Butland: 6
Glen Johnson: 7
Ryan Shawcross: 6
Philipp Wollscheid: 6
Erik Pieters: 6
Glenn Whelan: 6
Geoff Cameron: 5
Marko Arnautovic: 6
Xherdan Shaqiri: 6
Bojan Krkic: 6
Jonathan Walters: 7
Charlie Adam: 6
The midfielder grabbed his first goal since October 2014 with a rasping drive which brought a dull game to life. He was at least at the heart of some of the Baggies' best moves during a forgettable first hour before he scored. The former Sunderland man looked to be heading out of the club after falling out of Tony Pulis' first-team plans but has fought his way back into the side.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH:
Sessegnon broke the deadlock and the boredom when he fired West Brom ahead on the hour. The game lacked spark and quality before the midfielder fired in from 15-yards after a fine move. Darren Fletcher found Claudio Yacob and, as Stoke switched off, they allowed Sessegnon to creep into the area unmarked and fire high past Jack Butland. It ignited a poor game and led the way for some late drama.
MOAN OF THE MATCH:
Geoff Cameron put Stoke under unnecessary pressure with a needless shove on Claudio Yacob to see red. He can have no complaints at referee Lee Mason's decision but his team-mates, manager and fans have every right to feel aggrieved with him Stoke had hauled themselves level just two minutes beforehand and looked like they were at least going to collect a point before Cameron walked.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH:
Mark Hughes will be furious his side conceded so late to toss away what would have been a deserved point. Neither side looked like wining during a wretched first half and he will be angry at Cameron's loss of discipline. Tony Pulis now has three straight wins over his former side and the Baggies are now nine points clear of the bottom three.
WHO'S UP NEXT?
West Brom v Bristol City (FA Cup, Saturday, January 9)
Stoke v Liverpool (Capital One Cup, Tuesday, January 5)