Alan Irvine desperately needed a win, but instead luck was not on his side. West Brom failed to take some early chances, and Stoke capitalized with a double from Mame Biram Diouf as the Baggies slumped to a 2-0 defeat at the Britannia.
West Brom opened the brighter side, flowing nicely down the left flank, and it produced shots for Brown Ideye and Stephane Sessegnon, but nothing came of it. Bojan came close on the other end on 14 minutes, but with the entire left half of the goalmouth gaping, he sent it just wide.
The visitors continued to produce half-chances with manager Alan Irvine under pressure, and Sessegnon looked like the player most likely to score. Meanwhile, Stoke continued to settle for long-distance shots.
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Unfortunately, with Irvine’s job already in jeopardy, West Brom failed to capitalize on its pressure and the visitors conceded after the break. A wonderful 51st-minute cross from Erik Pieters cut low across the box and settled at the feet of Mame Biram Diouf in traffic. His first touch was sublime, and he sliced his shot past Ben Foster and in for the lead.
The goal is Diouf’s first in his last nine games, and sent Stoke City 1-0 up at home. West Brom nearly had an equalizer 14 minutes later in a scramble, as Craig Gardner’s first attempt was saved by Asmir Begovic and then Gareth McAuley’s follow-up hit the post.
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With that chance gone, Stoke would go 2-up on a crazy goal and put West Brom away. Bojan, charging towards the box, laid off to Marko Arnautovic in acres of space at the top-right of the box. Arnautovic lashed a shot on goal which looked to have a chance of going in, and with Diouf in the area, he attempted to jump out of the way. Instead, the ball clipped Diouf’s feet perfectly on its way in and slipped past Ben Foster.
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With QPR’s draw, the loss means West Brom fall into 17th, just a point above the relegation zone and Alan Irvine’s job in a precarious position. Meanwhile, Stoke strongly jumped into the top half of the table, and while their entire performance wasn’t flawless, they took chances to prove their superiority.
Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Muniesa, Pieters; Nzonzi, Whelan; Diouf, Bojan, Arnautovic; Crouch (Walters 63′).
Goals: Diouf 51′, 66′
West Brom: Foster, Wisdom, Lescott, McAuley, Baird, Gardner, Morrison (Varela 63′), Brunt, Dorrans, Sessegnon (Berahino 63′), Ideye.