Brown Ideye’s seventh goal of the season got West Bromwich Albion back to winning ways against Tony Pulis’ former club Stoke City.
The Baggies were pushed all the way by the visitors but Ideye’s strike was enough to see them over the finish line.
Closer to safety
The result sees Albion move 11 points clear of the drop zone following QPR’s 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, whilst Mark Hughes’ side stay in 8th position after a decent season at the Britannia Stadium.
Article continues below
The Baggies home form now reads an impressive one defeat in seven since Pulis took the helm - a much needed confidence boost following their double defeat to local rivals Aston Villa.
Albion had the first attempt on goal after two minutes. Berahino struck from 25-yards but Asmir Begovic was alert to turn it away for a corner.
Article continues below
The Bosnian keeper was called into action again five minutes later, as Berahino’s strike from outside the box deflected off Marc Wilson. Again, Begovic was equal to the challenge.
It took the visitors until the 11th minute to register a shot on goal. Victor Moses dispossessed Darren Fletcher in midfield but his effort from 30-yards was wild and didn't trouble keeper Ben Foster.
Ideye strikes again
Brown Ideye’s header put West Brom ahead after 20 minutes. The Nigerian out-muscled Phil Bardsley and was able to guide Craig Gardner’s cross into the bottom corner past the outstretched arm of Begovic.
The home side continued to look dangerous and captain Darren Fletcher could have doubled the lead seven minutes later - but he sliced his volley attempt over the bar.
The Stoke defence was carved open again moments later. Craig Dawson’s pass from the heart of defence found Berahino, but the England striker could not convert from an improbable angle.
Ideye had the ball in the back of the net for a second time 12 minutes before the interval as he capitalised on a handling error by Begovic. However, much to the keeper’s relief, the number nine was flagged offside.
Mark Hughes’ men came out in the second half with more speed and emphasis to their attacking play. A collision between Peter Crouch and Foster led to a moment of panic in the Albion box but Joleon Lescott was able to poke clear. Bardsley then tried a curling effort from the edge of the area that went over.
Some good work from James Morrison down the left flank led to a chance for Berahino but the 21-year-old could not generate power or accuracy in his clearance.
Foster was forced to withdraw from proceedings after 55 minutes with a knee injury following his collision with Crouch, to be replaced by Boaz Myhill.
The substitute keeper made a fine save to preserve his sides lead seven minutes later, scrambling across his line to palm Jonathan Walters’ dipping header over.
Following a sustained period of pressure from the visitors Albion broke quickly on the counter and came inches away from a second as Begovic got a finger to Ideye’s effort.
There were calls for a penalty from West Brom with fifteen minutes left as Dawson went down under the challenge of Geoff Cameron, but Michael Oliver was not interested.
The impressive performance of Morrison was almost capped with a goal as he struck a swerving effort from the edge of the box, however Begovic was able to turn it away.
The goal scorer was forced off injured in the 89th minute to a rapturous applause from the home faithful.
There was controversy still to come in this game as Myhill was given a yellow card for charging out of his goal and upending Peter Crouch. But Marko Arnautovic’s free-kick was hit straight into the wall and the Baggies took all three points.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms