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Stoke City 1-2 West Bromwich Albion (West Bromwich Albion Fan's Perspective)

Sunday 22nd January 2012
To be perfectly honest with you, when we play Stoke, we know nine times out of ten that we will not get anything off them. We might have got the occasional point here and there, but a win? Well perhaps that might be a bit too much; after all we have won just twice in the past 29 league and cup meetings (we hadn't won in Stoke since 1982). But these hoodoos are there to be broken, Villa away in October anyone?

Understandably many Albion fans went to the Britannia Stadium unsure what would happen but I was feeling quietly confident of a win, but to finally see the Baggies beat Stoke after all these years was quite a moment to savour.

The team selection was quite surprising with Marc Antoine-Fortune starting his first game of the season ahead of Peter Odemwingie and Shane Long, who had to settle for a place on the bench. Jonas Olsson made a welcome return to the team alongside Gabriel Tamas who was starting for the first time in 20 games. Graham Dorrans also found himself in the team, replacing the injured Paul Scharner. Stoke made one change from the team that drew with Liverpool, with Ryan Shotton replacing Wilson Palacios.

The game started well for West Brom and we had a chance within the opening five minutes with Jerome Thomas having a shot saved by Thomas Sorensen. Shortly afterwards and after some typical Stoke play, Simon Cox had the chance to put the Albion in front, but he unfortunately sent the ball wide of the post. Dorrans was next to have a chance, sending a 30-yard shot wide of the left post.

Stoke were to have the next opportunity and if it hadn't have been for Gareth McAuley's defensive skills, the Potters would have been a goal up with Jonathan Walters' shot being blocked by the ever reliable Irish defender. Thomas Sorensen was soon called into action at the other end, as he tipped James Morrison's shot onto the bar, the ball then rebounded off  the inside of the post and out for a corner.

Albion's persistence was rewarded just after the half hour mark, as Morrison scored the opener. His 25-yard shot was spilled into the net by Sorensen after the Scot had seized possession in midfield and surged towards the Stoke goal. 1-0 to the Albion, and the vocal away fans could sense that maybe this could be the day when the hoodoo would finally be buried. Morrison almost doubled the lead before half time when he hit a long range volley just wide.

Half-time came and went, and the Baggies continued to force the issue after the break, Fortune nearly doubling the advantage when his shot was blocked by Robert Huth. We kept pressurising, and Morrison smashed the post from 20 yards.

The wind had been an annoyance for both fans and players, but it suddenly helped the Albion on the hour mark when Ben Foster's clearance, with assistance from the conditions, went straight to Simon Cox. Unfortunately, Cox didn't have the strength to convert this chance, making it all rather easy for Sorensen.

Then with 20 mins to go, Stoke were awarded a penalty. Albion hearts sank, here we go again we all thought. But Foster stepped up and kept out Walter's penalty. The decision was quite a soft one, with McAuley clearly beating Walters. Still, Foster's heroics kept the score 1-0 and it looked like we were finally going to get something.

However, four minutes from time, Stoke equalised. Cameron Jerome headed the ball into the back of the net from Jermaine Pennant's free-kick. All the Albion pressure and chances had been for nothing. This was typical of Stoke v West Brom games and the travelling fans feared the worst. Chants of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot rang out around the Britannia, in what had been the first bit of noise from the home fans all game.

For the second year running, the last minutes of the game were to be the most decisive when in injury time Graham Dorrans' free-kick found its way through the Stoke box and into the back of the net. The final whistle soon followed and Albion's long wait for a win in North Staffordshire was over.

This was it, this was the result that had taken nearly 30 years to achieve, and the Albion fans made sure Stoke knew the result with terrific noise and cheers erupting in and around the away end. The hoodoo had been buried and three points were added to the Albion's total. I just hope we don't have to wait another 30 odd years for a win… Boing Boing !

Man of the Match: James Morrison. He had a terrific game, scored the opener and hit the woodwork. He showed exactly how important he is the Albion. A mention must also go to Fortune, who worked tirelessly up front creating chances. It was an excellent team performance and one that will go down in the history of West Bromwich Albion.
Alex Horton

Total articles: 18

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