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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:38 28th August 2011

ALBION were sentenced to a late, third successive defeat by Ryan Shotton's controversial 89th-minute winner.

Baggies keeper Ben Foster complained that the Stoke sub had kicked the ball out of his hands before slotting into an empty net - but referee Mike Dean waved his protests away.

Roy Hodgson's men had the better of the fixture's few chances, with Shane Long denied by a stunning Asmir Begovic save in the first half and strike-partner Somen Tchoyi flashing a volley just wide after the break.

The Baggies also enjoyed the lion's share of possession but yet again found Stoke's defensive set-up a tough nut to crack, as their eight-year wait for a win over the Potters continued.

Hodgson named an unchanged Barclays Premier League XI for the third game running after Peter Odemwingie was ruled out by a minor reaction to his previous ankle injury following his comeback as a second-half sub at Chelsea.

Jerome Thomas, who made a successful return from a groin injury at Bournemouth on Tuesday, returned as a sub.

Albion started brightly and created the first opportunity in the fifth minute.

Tchoyi controlled Steven Reid's lofted ball before jinking past Ryan Shawcross and crossing for Chris Brunt who headed wide from ten yards - before painfully colliding with Robert Huth for his troubles!

The Baggies threatened again two minutes later when Paul Scharner directed a header from Brunt's diagonal free-kick straight at Begovic.

Tchoyi was causing Stoke all kinds of problems and Albion came agonisingly close to going one-up in the 12th minute.

The Cameroonian found Long with a perfectly-weighted cross from the left and the former Reading man's diving header was kept out at point-blank range by Begovic.

It was all Albion and, on 16, Jonathan Woodgate's headed clearance from Nicky Shorey's centre fell invitingly for Youssouf Mulumbu, who volleyed just over from 20 yards.

Stoke were struggling to get out of their own half and, in the 21st minute, Jonas Olsson was only inches away from connecting with Brunt's in-swinging free-kick at the far post.

Then, on 27, Brunt whistled a terrific 30-yard free-kick just past the wrong-footed Begovic's left-hand post.

Albion's work-rate in limiting Stoke time on the ball was commendable and the only thing missing from their performance during the first 30 minutes was a goal.

It wasn't until the 34th minute that City finally got behind the Baggies defence, when Matthew Etherington broke free down the left, but his dangerous cross was cut out by the covering Mulumbu.

The visitors suffered an injury setback three minutes later when Marc Wilson limped off and was replaced by Andy Wilkinson.

Albion did lose their way a little as the half drew to a close but, in the second minute of stoppage time, Huth had a real let off when he left short his attempted chest-back to Begovic from Brunt's centre. Long managed to get a foot to the ball but it squirmed inches wide of the near post.

Stoke immediately broke up-field but Jermaine Pennant was well wide with a header from Etherington's cross.

It was City who threatened first after the break when Glenn Whelan poked the ball just wide from 18 yards after great build-up play by Pennant and Jonathan Walters.

That incident aside, the second period took an age to get going as the teams cancelled each other out.

Albion did not create another opening until the 61st minute when Tchoyi collected Shorey's pass inside before curling wide from 20 yards.

Moments later, Whelan did well to get in the way of Mulumbu's goalbound effort after Stoke had made a pig's ear of clearing Tchoyi's left-wing cross.

Albion were starting to build up a head of steam again but Tchoyi was well over with another speculative drive from fully 30 yards.

The war of attrition continued until the 77th minute, when Tchoyi flashed a great chance wide from 15 yards after Scharner had headed Reid's diagonal ball into his path.

Albion kept probing and, four minutes later, Marc-Antoine Fortune collected fellow sub Graham Dorrans' pass before seeing his acute drive turned wide by Begovic's boot.

Dorrans then directed an awkward chance on the half-volley straight at Begovic from Mulumbu's deep cross.

Moments later, Scharner was off target with an acrobatic volley from Dorrans' corner.

But disaster struck in the final minute of normal time.

There appeared to be little danger when Gabriel Tamas waved Walters' high punt into the box through to Foster.

But Shotton had not given up the ghost and stuck out a boot, thus dislodging the ball from the on-loan Blues man's grasp before tapping into an empty net.

It was the roughest of justice on Hodgson's men, with a goalless draw the very least they deserved.

But Stoke's winner was in keeping with Albion's luck against the Potters in recent years, with their run now reading one win from 28 league meetings with City.

ALBION (4-4-1-1): Foster; Reid, Tamas, Olsson, Shorey; Brunt (c) (Thomas 66), Mulumbu, Scharner, Morrison (Dorrans 80); Tchoyi (Fortune 77); Long. Subs not used: Fulop (gk), Dawson, Cox, Jones.

STOKE (4-4-2): Begovic; Huth, Shawcross (c), Woodgate, Wilson (Wilkinson 37); Pennant (Shotton 75), Whelan, Whitehead, Etherington (Pugh 67); Walters, Jones. Subs not used: Sorensen (gk), Collins, Soares, Upson.

GOALS: STOKE - Shotton (89). 

BOOKINGS: None.

REFEREE: M Dean (Wirral)

ATTENDANCE: 22,909.

ALBION STARMAN: Jonas Olsson.
    Data provided by Press Association

    QUICK FACTS

    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.