Match Reports

Albion v Stoke City match report

DWIGHT Gayle's superb brace secured dominant Albion a deserved 2-1 victory over Stoke City at The Hawthorns.

The on-loan frontman opened the scoring courtesy of a delightful turn and finish in the 16th minute before adding a crucial second, a powerful first-time strike from Jake Livermore's excellent throughball, just before the hour mark. 

It was just rewards for an impressive Baggies performance which warranted all three points from a breathless and enthralling encounter.

Potters substitute Benik Afobe sent a second-half penalty against the crossbar, before Eric Pieters struck a very late consolation for the visitors in a clash between two sides battling for an immediate top-flight return.

The victory ensures Darren Moore's side have collected 10 points from their opening six matches of the campaign heading into the international break.

Albion showed one change from the league defeat at Middlesbrough, Craig Dawson replacing Tosin Adarabioyo on the right side of the three-man defence.

Harvey Barnes and Jay Rodriguez both flashed early efforts narrowly wide inside the opening 15 minutes, yet it did not take long for the hosts to take the lead.

Gayle started and finished a sublime move, picking up possession out wide and finding Kieran Gibbs, who drove forward and returned the ball.

Gayle then executed a delightful turn to lose his marker in style before rounding Jack Butland and slotting home.

Ahmed Hegazi saw his header from Matt Phillip's free-kick fly the wrong side of a post while Brunt was next to sting the palms of Butland.

The Baggies got out of jail when former Albion winger James McClean charged down Sam Johnstone's clearance, the ball bouncing down and fortunately on to the roof of the net.

The chance sparked the Potters and they found their way back into the encounter, but it was the home side who, again, could have added to their advantage shortly before the break.

Firstly, Barnes was sent clean through only to be denied by Butland before Kyle Bartley saw his close-range finish ruled out for handball.

Rodriguez sent an early second-half shot straight at Butland when in space, although the hosts got the vital second goal just before the hour.

Livermore's superb throughball was brought down by Gayle and he smashed a first-time strike past a helpless Butland.

City were handed a lifeline when Livermore was penalised for handball in the area, but sub Afobe sent the resulting spot-kick against the bar and over.

Eric Pieters smashed in a left-footed drive with all of the five additional minutes on the clock, but it did not prevent Albion claiming the spoils, extending their unbeaten home sequence against Stoke to five matches.

ALBION: Johnstone, Dawson, Hegazi, Bartley, Phillips, Livermore, Brunt, Gibbs, Barnes (Barry 86), Rodriguez, Gayle (Robson-Kanu 72).

Subs: Myhill, Adarabioyo, Field, Leko, Burke.

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