West Brom 1-0 Stoke: An early strike from James Morrison was enough for hosts
By Pete Hall
Last Updated: 04/02/17 6:13pm
An early strike from James Morrison was enough for West Brom to earn a 1-0 win over Stoke at The Hawthorns on Saido Berahino's return to the club.
Morrison broke the deadlock in the sixth minute, after great work from Nacer Chadli to play him in, and the Baggies looked more than comfortable for the remainder of the first half.
Stoke upped the ante after the break, with Berahino coming off the bench to a chorus of boos from the stands, but the former Baggies hitman could not find an equaliser on his old stomping ground.
The Potters slip to 11th after the defeat, as Tony Pulis picked up his fourth win in five against his former employer. West Brom remain eighth.
With Berahino on the bench, an unchanged Stoke struggled to find any rhythm early on, and it wasn't long before they were behind.
Chadli carried the ball forward at pace down the left flank, delayed just long enough for Morrison to break ahead of him, the former Tottenham winger threaded the ball into Morrison, who let it run across his body before firing into the bottom corner.
Morrison almost netted his and the Baggies' second moments later, but he didn't connect with Chris Brunt's pinpoint cross from close range.
Despite enjoying plenty of possession, Stoke struggled to make any inroads at all, with Peter Crouch cutting an isolated figure up front.
Salomon Rondon was giving the Potters' rearguard plenty to ponder, and almost got on the scoresheet in the 34th minute, but was denied by a fine stop from Lee Grant.
As the half drew to a close, the Potters did come close to grabbing an equaliser twice, but Ryan Shawcross' header was deflected against the outside of the post, while Joe Allen's tame header was easily saved by Ben Foster.
The Potters did come out with more impetus after the interval, with Phil Bardsley going close seven minutes into the second half.
Then came the moment we had all been waiting for, as Berahino came off the bench, but the 23-year-old only mustered four touches in an uninspired showing.
Stoke's moment came 11 minutes from time, as Erik Pieters timed his leap perfectly to get on the end of a Bardsley centre, but he couldn't direct his header on target from point-blank range.
Down the other end, substitute James McClean was denied by a fine Grant save late on, but the Baggies held on for a deserved three points.
West Brom: Foster (7); Nyom (8), Dawson (7), McAuley (6), Brunt (7); Livermore (8), Fletcher (7); Chadli (8), Morrison (8), Phillips (7); Rondon (8).
Subs: Robson-Kanu (N/A), McClean (6), Field (N/A).
Stoke: Grant (6), Bardsley (6), Shawcross (6), Martins Indi (6), Pieters (5), Whelan (7), Adam (5), Afellay (4), Allen (6), Arnautovic (4), Crouch (4).
Subs: Berahino (3), Diouf (5), Ngoy (5).
Man of the match: Jake Livermore.