West Brom 2-1 Stoke: Dwight Gayle hits double for Baggies
Last Updated: 01/09/18 7:15pm
Dwight Gayle grabbed a double to get West Brom back to winning ways in the Sky Bet Championship.
The striker made all the difference in a 2-1 victory against Stoke at the Hawthorns.
Gayle, who is on loan from Newcastle, struck in the 16th minute and then again just before the hour mark as the hosts bounced back after their defeat at Middlesbrough. Stoke grabbed a consolation through Erik Pieters.
Stoke had made the short journey to West Bromwich boosted by back-to-back league and cup victories, after failing to win any of their opening four games of the season.
But the Potters, whose former West Brom players Saido Berahino and James McClean were given a torrid time by home fans, never looked like making it a hat-trick of wins.
A dismal day for Gary Rowett's side was summed up when Benik Afobe missed a 71st-minute penalty. Pieters pulled a goal back from 25 yards but it came deep into stoppage time.
Albion, relegated along with Stoke from the Premier League last season, twice threatened to break the deadlock before Gayle scored.
Gayle had a chance in the 11th minute that he pushed wide and then Jay Rodriguez dragged a shot the wrong side of the post after dispossessing Peter Etebo.
But West Brom only had to wait a matter of moments to turn their early domination into a breakthrough.
Kieran Gibbs made a surging run towards the Stoke area and picked out Gayle whose spin in the area gave him a vital yard on the Stoke defence and he calmly stroked the ball past Jack Butland.
West Brom should have doubled their advantage eight minutes later only for Ahmed Hegazi to head wide from a Matt Phillips free-kick.
Stoke were then indebted to Butland for keeping the deficit down to a single goal when he beat away a goalbound drive from Chris Brunt.
The visitors were struggling to get a foothold in the game but came close to dragging themselves back to level terms in the 27th minute in bizarre style when McClean charged down a clearance from goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, with the ball flying narrowly over the bar.
Albion remained the dominant force and Butland saved Stoke again on the stroke of half-time when his outstretched foot turned away a shot from Harvey Barnes before Kyle Bartley had a goal disallowed for handball.
Rodriguez saw two chances go begging, one of them being saved by the overworked Butland, before Stoke's luck ran out in the 59th minute when Jake Livermore launched a long pass forward.
Gayle's pace took him beyond the Stoke defence and this time Butland was powerless to stop the ball flying past him.
Stoke were afforded a route back into the game when Livermore handled on the line, only for substitute Afobe to drive his spot-kick against the bar. The late strike from Pieters only served to narrow West Brom's winning margin.
Darren Moore: "I thought that Dwight scored two very good goals. I think his calmness and composure when he gets in front of goal is there for all to see.
"I am really pleased for Dwight that in the impressive team play leading up to the goal that he was able to tuck them both away. I felt Dwight would be a good fit here in terms of what we are trying to bring to the club. His character is very, very good and he has added to the team and we are delighted to have him here."
Gary Rowett: "I think that Simon (Hooper) is a terrific referee. He said to me it is not a sending off because it hit the post and Livermore accidentally handballs it. He doesn't, he deliberately handballs it and for me that has to be a sending off otherwise you would encourage your defenders to handle the ball on the line.
"Whether we would have got back in the game I don't know but to sum up the afternoon we miss the penalty when we could have given ourselves 20 minutes of pressure."
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