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Match Reports

Stoke City 0 Albion 1

9 February 2019

Albion made it six wins from their last seven away games to keep their Sky Bet Championship promotion challenge on course at Stoke City.

A solitary Dwight Gayle goal in the first half was enough to decide a clash they had controlled before the break but which required some solid defensive resistance to see over the line. 

It was Gayle’s 16th goal of the season and clinched an impressive response from Darren Moore’s men to their 3-2 defeat by Middlesbrough a week earlier.

Albion gave two of their January recruits Stefan Johansen and Jacob Murphy their full debuts while the third newcomer Jefferson Montero came off the bench to replace Murphy for his first action in the final 10 minutes.

But it was a solid team showing which will delight the Baggies head coach and sets up the team for a busy week which takes in the visit of Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night before the derby at Villa Park in a week’s time.

Albion were the dominant force throughout the first period and might have added to their lead in both the first and last action of the opening 45 minutes. But Jake Livermore and Jay Rodriguez could not quite get the connections they would have wanted from similar positions.

Albion’s opening goal was a peach of a set piece as Johansen took control of a free-kick midway and central in Stoke’s half. A superbly-flighted delivery was cushioned across the face of Stoke’s six-yard line by Ahmed Hegazi’s left-foot volley for Gayle to rise between two defenders and head home.

Stoke pushed on to Albion after the break but with Hegazi in outstanding form and his team mates equally resilient, keeper Sam Johnstone was given blanket protection from the men in front.

Albion were left to salute the backing of 2,900 Albion fans who kept up a barrage of noise throughout the contest and saw their team through four minutes of added time to victory.

Albion: Johnstone; Holgate, Dawson, Hegazi, Gibbs, Livermore, Barry, Johansen (Harper 80), Rodriguez, Gayle (Bartley 90+2), Murphy (Montero 73).

Subs: Bond, Mears, Hoolahan, Field.


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