Wednesday 29 January 2020

Crouch comes off the bench to rescue a point for Stoke

West Brom 1 Stoke 1

Stoke City's Peter Crouch applauds fans
Stoke City's Peter Crouch applauds fans

Guy Aspin

Substitute Peter Crouch took advantage of a terrible defensive mix-up to earn Stoke a 1-1 Premier League draw at West Brom.

The 36-year-old was gifted the easiest of chances in the 77th minute when Baggies defender Ahmed Hegazi seemed to fail to heed a call from Ben Foster and sliced his clearance almost out of his goalkeeper's hands.

It was a comical way for the home side to concede their first league goal of the season, and one which had not looked like coming as Tony Pulis' men kept their opponents at arm's length, with Gareth Barry typically effective in his holding midfield role.

Jay Rodriguez's first league goal for West Brom had earlier looked like maintaining their 100 per cent start to the season, the summer signing from Southampton heading home smartly in the 61st minute.

But an uncharacteristic error at the back, which was greeted by a show of fury from an incensed Foster, denied them the chance to join Manchester United at the top of the table.

The hosts were still missing defender Jonny Evans, out with a hamstring injury as he continues to be linked with a move away, while new signing Oliver Burke started on the bench.

Stoke had Xherdan Shaqiri fit after he was forced off in the win over Arsenal with a hamstring problem. Albion old boy Saido Berahino was a substitute.

An early authoritative punch from Foster ahead of Erik Pieters was a sign of the Baggies' confidence at the back.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting went to ground as he cut into the area from the right, but Chris Brunt had resisted the temptation to hang out his leg and referee Anthony Taylor was right to wave away Stoke appeals.

The opening exchanges were lively, but it was the Potters who continued to dictate the pace of the game as it settled down, albeit without creating a clear chance, with Jese, the match-winner against Arsenal, struggling to impose himself.

Kurt Zouma brought the best save of the half out of Foster with a deflected shot.

The goalkeeper back-peddled and leapt to tip the ball over the bar when the on-loan Chelsea defender, allowed too much time and space, let fly from the edge of the area and his shot looped up off Barry and appeared to be heading under the bar.

Brunt survived another penalty appeal over a handball before at the other end Ryan Shawcross had to hack a clearance over his own bar from a fizzing low Matt Phillips cross.

West Brom showed marginally more adventure after the break, trying to get the ball out wide, but too often the end product was poor, particularly disappointing with Jack Butland in the Stoke goal looking unusually vulnerable in the air.

When Allan Nyom did get his delivery on the money the hosts went in front.

Nyom sent in a teasing cross from the right and Rodriguez got in front of Zouma to stoop and head a bouncing ball inside the far post.

Stoke responded by bringing on Crouch for the ineffective Jese, but it was West Brom who almost doubled their lead as Hegazi's header brought a flying save out of Butland.

But the Potters earned a point following the Baggies' defensive blunder.

Choupo-Moting had a chance to win it when the ball fell to him at the far post, but his shot was diverted wide.

PA Media

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