Friday 22 September 2017

Allen is bright spot in Stoke's horror start

Stoke City 1 West Brom 1

Joe Allen of Stoke City (R) attempts to block Claudio Yacob of West Bromwich Albion (L). Photo: Getty
Joe Allen of Stoke City (R) attempts to block Claudio Yacob of West Bromwich Albion (L). Photo: Getty

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Stoke boss Mark Hughes feels Joe Allen has been the "shining light" in the Potters' troubled season so far. The midfielder scored his first goal for the Staffordshire outfit with a 73rd-minute strike against West Brom on Saturday - an effort that looked set to seal Stoke's maiden Premier League win of the season before Salomon Rondon's stoppage-time header ensured the game at the Bet365 Stadium finished 1-1.

Allen produced a very creditable display against the Baggies and has impressed since joining from Liverpool.

West Bromwich Albion's Jonny Evans (left) and Stoke City's Wifried Bony battle for the ball. Photo: PA
West Bromwich Albion's Jonny Evans (left) and Stoke City's Wifried Bony battle for the ball. Photo: PA

And Hughes said of the 26-year-old Wales international: "I think he left Liverpool because he wanted to play week in, week out, we are giving him that opportunity, and in every game he plays he has an influence.

"He has been the shining light for us this season - the one who has been really hitting the levels expected of him.

"Maybe some of the guys are still trying to get a level of form up to this point, but we have never had any issue with Joe in terms of his form.

"He has hit the ground running and been excellent since he walked through the door."

West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon celebrates scoring their first goal. Photo: Reuters
West Bromwich Albion's Salomon Rondon celebrates scoring their first goal. Photo: Reuters

Allen played in quite an advanced position, and Hughes added: "Joe has so many elements to his play, he has so much energy, and he can play in any number of positions.

"I think he enjoys being further advanced. He has good anticipation of things dropping around the box and that is what showed with his goal."

Allen's close-range finish, which he produced when a Xherdan Shaqiri cross fell to him via a failed attempted clearance by Jonny Evans, was cancelled out by a goal that came from a corner needlessly conceded.

Defender Bruno Martins Indi could have allowed his goalkeeper Lee Grant to catch the ball but instead put it behind.

The resulting corner was met in decisive fashion by the head of Rondon to make it a satisfying return to the stadium for Albion and ex-Stoke boss Tony Pulis.

The result saw West Brom move up to ninth in the table with eight points from six games, while Stoke, having ended their four-match losing streak in the league by collecting their second point of the campaign, rose off the bottom to 19th.

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