West Brom 1-1 Stoke: Peter Crouch punishes defensive mix-up to cancel Jay Rodriguez opener
Last Updated: 27/08/17 5:03pm
Substitute Peter Crouch punished a defensive mix-up to earn Stoke a 1-1 draw with West Brom at the Hawthorns.
The hosts had looked set to extend their perfect start to the Premier League season when Jay Rodriguez broke the deadlock in a low-key contest with a 61st-minute header - his first league goal for the club.
But defender Ahmed Hegazi inexplicably swiped at a ball goalkeeper Ben Foster had come to claim and Crouch, not long off the bench, stooped to gleefully nod into an open net with 13 minutes remaining.
Foster was incensed after his team-mate denied Albion the chance to join Manchester United at the top of the fledgling table, but Stoke, who saw two half-hearted penalty appeals waved away in the first half, might have snatched victory late on and a draw seemed fair.
West Brom: Foster (5), Nyom (7), Dawson (6), Hegazi (4), Brunt (5), Phillips (5), Livermore (5), Barry (7), Morrison (5), Rodriguez (6), Rondon (6)
Subs used: Yacob (5), McClean (5), Burke (NA)
Stoke: Butland (6), Zouma (6), Shawcross (6), Cameron (6), Martins Indi (6), Fletcher (6), Allen (6), Pieters (5), Shaqiri (6), Jese (5), Choupo-Moting (5).
Subs: Crouch (6), Sobhi (6)
Man of the match: Allan Nyom
Salomon Rondon's bulk had helped earn a couple of early home corners but James Morrison's fifth-minute header bounced up off the turf and wide as Stoke settled in the sunshine.
The Baggies' first-half threat failed to extend much beyond set-pieces but Mark Hughes' side struggled to make possession count against typically organised opposition. The half's best chance fell to Kurt Zouma, his snapshot (24) taking a hefty deflection off Gareth Barry and sending Foster scrambling across his goal.
Tony Pulis brought in James Morrison and Salomon Rondon for Sam Field and James McClean, while Bruno Martins-Indi replaced Mame Biram Diouf for Stoke.
Jean-Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting fell in the area over Chris Brunt's boot but referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved by the exaggerated tumble as well as the tussle, and another penalty appeal when a ball struck Brunt's arm (41) was rightly dismissed.
Saido Berahino drew boos as he warmed up in front of former fans, but a dour contest was finally elevated when Allan Nyom gave Xherdan Shaquiri the slip and whipped in a ball that Rodriguez darted in front of his man to meet.
Hughes called for Crouch but it was Hegazi who offered the aerial threat when he met a lofted free-kick (65), before Rodriguez saw a looping header hit the bar.
Albion were suddenly in the ascendancy but their momentum was surrendered when Ramadan Sobhi lofted in an innocuous-looking ball, only for Hegazi to make an unwanted intervention.
Choupo-Moting had a late chance to further punish the hosts but could only lash the ball into the side-netting as the teams settled for a point heading into the international break.
- Tony Pulis is yet to lose a Premier League game against former side Stoke (W5 D2).
- Stoke avoided defeat in the Premier League after going behind for the first time since November 2016 against West Ham - they had lost their last 13 in a row when they'd fallen behind.
- Jay Rodriguez has scored three Premier League goals against Stoke - against no side has he scored more (also three against Newcastle United).
- Only six players have scored more Premier League goals as a substitute than Peter Crouch (13).
Tony Pulis: "It was disappointing. For all their possession I didn't think that they created all that many clear-cut chances.
"These things happen. They bring Crouchy on and without him doing anything his presence unnerves defenders. That is what Peter has done again today. I didn't see them scoring. As soon as we scored I thought we would win the game."
Mark Hughes: "I think (a point) was the least that we deserved in terms of performance. I thought that we knocked on the door all afternoon.
"It wasn't a great game I have to say. I didn't particularly enjoy it as a spectacle or even being involved at management level. It was frustrating to say the least but I never expected anything different."
Man of the match - Allan Nyom
The 29-year-old Cameroon defender was superb for West Brom in what was a battle of two defences for the majority of the 90 minutes at the Hawthorns.
Nyom had Jese in his pocket for the first half - forcing Mark Hughes to bring him off at half-time - and saw his deep, calculated cross headed home by Rodriguez for the opener in the second half.
Nyom would have been going home with a deserved clean sheet were it not for Hegazi's error late on, but the individual gong is his. Special mention to Gareth Barry, who controlled the Albion midfield, and won all six of his tackles - more than any other player.
West Brom travel to Brighton on September 9, while Stoke host a buoyant Manchester United side that have won three and scored 10 without reply in their first three games.