Rondon scores first Albion goal
ALBION claimed their first win of this Barclays Premier League season thanks to a Salomon Rondon winner against a Stoke City team reduced to nine men after 32 minutes.
The Club's record signing opened his account with an athletic and well-placed header in added time at the end of a first half in which the home side had lost Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam to red cards.
Stoke put up a terrific effort with their reduced numbers as Albion concentrated solely on seeing their first three-pointer of the season over the line.
But Mark Hughes's outfit could never regain the ground lost when Afellay raised his arms to Craig Gardner in the 25th minute to get his marching orders for violent play before Adam went because of a stamping offence on Craig Dawson seven minutes later.
That left referee Michael Oliver the target of some vociferous criticism from the sell-out home sections and the Baggies had to handle a difficult atmosphere throughout the remainder of the game.
However, Head Coach Tony Pulis was rewarded for an instant change of plan from the moment Adam went as Claudio Yacob made way for Rickie Lambert and it was Lambert who picked out Rondon with a terrific cross which the Venezuelan star headed wide of Jack Butland.
Butland had previously kept out a James Morrison effort while the game was 11 v 11 following an opening period in which Albion had thrown an iron curtain in front of Boaz Myhill.
The second period, however, was a tame affair in which the return to action from the bench of Cristian Gamboa was a talking point for Albion fans.
Pulis had been given a terrific reception by his old club but had once again felt unable to select Saido Berahino while injuries to James Chester and Chris Brunt forced further changes.
His Stoke team were an opponent Albion always struggled to beat but the boot was on the other foot on his competitive return to the Britannia Stadium as the Baggies completed back-to-back league wins over their Midlands neighbours for the first time since 1988.
STOKE CITY: Butland; Johnson (Wilson 63), Cameron, Muniesa, Pieters; Whelan (c), van Ginkel; Shaqiri (Arnautovic 67), Adam, Afellay; Diouf (Ireland 81). Subs: Given, Joselu, Crouch, Bojan.
Bookings: Pieters (foul 66);
Sendings off: Afellay (25, striking an opponent); Adam (32 stamping)
ALBION: Myhill, Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Lescott, Gardner (Gardner 46), Fletcher (c), Yacob (34 Lambert), Morrison, McClean (Gamboa 63), Rondon. Subs: Rose, Gnabry, Ideye, Anichebe.
Bookings: Gardner (foul 25); Gamboa (foul 69); McAuley (foul 84);
Goals: Rondon (45 + 2)
Albion Man of the Match: Fletcher.
Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).