Seven senior players involved at The Hawthorns
TWO goals in two second-half minutes from Saido Berahino and Chris Brunt helped Albion’s Premier League 2 side come from behind to a record a 2-1 victory over Stoke City.
Seven senior players, including Brunt and Berahino as well as James Morrison, Hal Robson-Kanu, Brendan Galloway, Jonathan Leko and Sam Field, featured for the Baggies against the Potters at The Hawthorns.
Berahino, Morrison, Leko, Field and Galloway all played 90 minutes, Brunt completed 78 minutes while Morrison and Robson-Kanu were in action for just under an hour.
Stoke, who named first-team players Marc Muniesa and Charlie Adam in their side, had the game’s first opportunity when Ollie Shenton found himself free on the edge of the area in the 3rd minute, but the midfielder fired wide.
The visitors’ early pressure told in the 12th minute though and they went ahead through Julien Ngoy who converted Ramadan’s measured cross from the left-hand side of the box.
Albion came close to levelling the scores midway through the half as Brunt saw his ferocious drive flash past Daniel Bachmann’s far post having been teed up by Berahino.
The Baggies forward then had a go himself with a free-kick from 30 yards, but the Stoke stopper managed to push his well-struck effort away from danger.
Morrison and Leko both had shots blocked by defenders inside the penalty area at the end of the half meaning the Potters went in at the break with a slender advantage.
Stoke almost doubled their lead twice at the start of the second 45, with Muniesa and then Thibaud Verlinden both seeing efforts fly over Alex Palmer’s crossbar.
At the other end, centre-back Danny Barbir tried his luck from 30 yards but was thwarted by Bachmann and right-back Jack Fitzwater blazed over when the ball fell at his feet on the edge of the box.
ON THE SCORESHEET: Brunt congratulates Berahino after netting opener
Undeterred, Albion turned the game on its head with two goals in two minutes from Berahino and Brunt.
Leko was handed too much time in the middle of the park and he slipped in the forward who confidently dispatched under the body of Bachmann in the 64th minute.
And moments later the hosts were ahead when the Northern Ireland international curled home a delightful free-kick from 20 yards after Chay Scrivens had been fouled by Liam Edwards.
The tricky Ramadan had two shots blocked by Baggies defenders Fitzwater and Dara O’Shea, while Adam’s strike from distance was palmed away by Palmer.
Albion almost added a third with seven minutes remaining when Leko lobbed Bachmann, however Stoke defender Muniesa was back in the nick of time to clear the ball off the line.
The hosts had Palmer to thank for preserving the three points right at the death, with the goalkeeper making a spectacular save to keep out Dominic Telford’s drive from 20 yards.
ALBION: Palmer, Fitzwater, O’Shea, Barbir, Galloway, Field, Morrison (Harper 59), Leko, Brunt (Sweeney 78), Berahino, Robson-Kanu (Scrivens 59).
Unused subs: Rose, Smith.
GOALS: Berahino 64, Brunt 66.
STOKE: Bachmann, Banks, Muniesa, Edwards, Taylor, Molina, Adam, Verlinden (Jarvis 87), Shenton (Telford 74), Ramadan, Ngoy.
Unused subs: Isted, Waddington, Renee-Pringle.
GOAL: Ngoy 12.