The Baggies clearly came to the Brit to set out their stall to leave with the point they started with.4-5-1 said it all.In the event they left with nothing to show for their efforts thanks to Mama Sidibe's Ritchiesque headed goal in the 84th minute.
Again a virtually full house of 26,613 were there to see the action.Stoke showed no hangover effect from their Man Utd experience,and went about their business as usual at home....very much in WBA's faces,closing them down quickly,providing very little opportunity for the visitors to string passing moves together .
Dave Kitson came in for suspended Ricardo Fuller,I am sure hoping that he would be able to open his goal account for the Potters.Unfortunatey he suffered what looked like a knee injury only a few minutes into the game and was replaced by striker Cresswell (who's last Premier League goal was notched in 2000!).For K itson.....When your luck's out.....
Creswell was busy throughout without looking likely to score.Soares had a couple of chances to put his team ahead but could make nothing of them.His deadball/freekick delivery was generally poor,and it was no surprise in the second half that he was replaced by Tongue.
The first half saw each side have one decent chance.For Stoke Sidibe took the ball down skillfully outside the penalty box before blasting a shot which looked all the way a goal until Carson's intervention.For the Baggies Ishmael Miller shot over when he might have done better.
The second half was Stoke's.The Baggies were largely ineffective going forward,but Stoke for their part did look threatening at times. Danger particularly came down the left touchline with Higginbotham overlapping.Higginbotham, Cresswell,Delap,and Tongue managed some excellent interpassing in the latter stages of the game.
The goal came from Higginbotham's run down the left,a smart one two with Tongue,and an exquisite cross by the fullback, which Sidibe rose majestically to meet,heading the ball back over the stranded WBA keeper into the left corner of the net.A goal good enough in its construction and execution to win any game.
One or two potential worries...in addition to Kitson,Ryan Shawcross hobbled off the pitch in the second half,and Abdy Faye seemed to be carrying a leg injury for part of the second half ( the man is an absolute rock at the very heart of our defence....he would be sorely missed if unavailable).
So 13th place, 17 points from 14 games,4 home wins on the bounce............boing bounce (WBA last beat Stoke at home in 1982!)