Jay Rodriguez’s first Premier League goal for the Baggies, thanks to a diving header, had given the hosts the lead
PETER CROUCH denied West Brom a 100 per cent start to the season when the veteran striker earned a dramatic point after a horror mix up at the back.
It was a blow for Albion boss Tony Pulis – the man who took Crouch to the Potters from Spurs in a £10million deal when he was Stoke boss.
Jay Rodriguez grabbed his first league goal for Albion to put Baggies on course for a third successive win.
The £15million summer signing from Southampton lifted the gloom at a sun-soaked Hawthorns.
Rodriguez, who scored against Accrington in the Carabao Cup in midweek, opened his top flight account for the Baggies when he nipped in unchallenged to head home an Allan Nyom cross from close range.
Boss Mark Hughes’ reaction to the goal was to send on Crouch as a sub.
And move paid off as the former England striker levelled just 15 minutes later.
Sobhi’s cross was misjudged by defender Ahmend Hegazi and keeper Ben Foster who got into a mix up and allowed Crouch to head home into an empty net.
But for an hour, this was a game that had nothing going for it in terms of chances.
Even the pantomime villains of the piece failed to deliver as bosses Pulis and Hughes exchanged a polite handshake at the start of the game.
Okay, Hughes had to seek out Pulis to make the gesture but the two did not ignore each other despite last season’s war of words over the events surrounding Saido Berahino’s controversial move to Stoke.
Berahino was loudly jeered in the warm up as he took pot shots on goal – and was the the target of the boo boys throughout.
Stoke’s Max Choupo-Moting went down under a challenge in West Brom box from Chris Brunt after eight minutes but ref Anthony Taylor said no penaly.
Kurt Zouma’s shot then hit Albion midfielder Barry and deflected just over the bar with Foster needing to make the save.
Hegazi almost made it two for Baggies after Rodriguez’s goal but was denied by Jack Butland.
INTERACTIVE STATS – CLICK on a player’s number below to see their stats
Chelsea 2 Everton 0
FACTS, STATS, GOALS & LOLS
- Ahead of the game, Tony Pulis had never lost in five Premier League meetings with his former side Stoke (W4 D1).
- Prior to kick-off, 15 of Tony Pulis’ 31 Premier League wins as West Brom boss had been by a 1-0 scoreline.
- Saido Berahino hadn’t scored in any of his previous 28 Prem appearances over a spell at both clubs – 13 games for West Brom and 15 games for Stoke.
- The Potters unleashed FOUR times as many shots in the first half, with eight shots to the Baggies’ two.
- Despite ten shots being taken in the opening 45 minutes, only ONE hit the target.
- Stoke man Berahino was widely booed as he warmed-up on the touchline early in the second-half following his controversial behaviour at the Hawthorns.
- Jay Rodriguez netted his first Premier League goal for West Brom with his powerful diving header on the hour mark – it was the side’s first shot on target of the game.
- Peter Crouch’s equaliser was the first goal West Brom had conceded all season, after 258 minutes of football.
- The former England man’s goal was his 51st headed-strike in the Premier League – a division record.
INTERACTIVE STATS – CLICK on the categories to find out how the teams fared
WHAT THEY SAID
Stoke scorer Peter Crouch said:”It’s a decent point, coming away to West Brom is always tough so it’s a good result.
“It wasn’t my finest goals we will take them every day of the week.
“At home you want to get off to a good start, we beat Arsenal and drew here so that’s a good start to the season.”
West Brom goalscorer Jay Rodriguez said:”I have always tried to get on the end of crosses. Luckily I judged the bounce and it went in today.”The goal means everything. All I want to do is play after time out and I am enjoying be part of it.
“We have made a positive start. Perhaps we could have held on for the win, but it’s a good point.”
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
WEST BROM: Foster 6, Nyom 7, Dawson 6, Hegazi 5, Brunt 7, Phillips 6 (McClean 74, 6), Livermore 5, Barry 6, Morrison 6 (Yacob 70, 5), Rodriguez 7 (Burke 88, 6), Rondon 5.
Subs not used: Myhill, Chadli, Field, Wilson.
STOKE: Butland 6, Zouma 7, Shawcross 7, Martins Indi 6, Cameron 6 (Sobhi 69, 6), Fletcher 6, Allen 6, Pieters 6, Jese 6 (Crouch 62, 7), Shaqiri 7, Choupo-Moting 6.
Subs not used: Johnson, Berahino, Adam, Bojan, Grant.
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