POWELL BAGS: Stoke end Baggies unbeaten start to season
Nick Powell scored a late winner as Stoke ended leaders West Brom’s unbeaten start to the Championship season with a narrow 1-0 win.
Powell calmly lofted the ball over goalkeeper Sam Johnstone with 11 minutes to go after a defensive blunder by Conor Townsend.
It looked like the goal was not going to come for the Championship’s best home side – unbeaten at the bet365 Stadium so far this season – who put Albion to the sword before claiming maximum points to move into third.
Jacob Brown wasted a glorious chance to put the Potters ahead when he hit the post after nine minutes.
They went even closer when they saw Darnell Furlong’s own goal chalked off for a foul five minutes before half-time.
Mario Vrancic hit the crossbar and substitute Sam Surridge saw a 71st-minute penalty saved before the breakthrough finally came.
During a fast start by Albion, Callum Robinson drilled an effort over from the edge of the box after three minutes.
Adam Davies cut out a low Robinson cross four minutes last as Karlan Grant prepared to pounce.
Brown hit the post moments later, after Powell’s pass opened up the defence, while Joe Allen smashed a thunderous effort soon after as Stoke came back into it.
Johnstone kept out Josh Tymon’s dinked effort after he broke the offside trap after 16 minutes.
Robinson had two shots blocked in quick succession by James Chester four minutes later before he fired a third attempt straight at Davies.
Stoke thought they had hit the front after 40 minutes when Furlong headed the ball into his own net. But he did so seconds after referee Tim Robinson had ruled that Vrancic had fouled Robinson in the build-up.
Vrancic rattled the crossbar with a 25-yard free-kick as Stoke started the second half strongly, while Jake Livermore picked up a booking on 50 minutes after going through the back of Vranic with a late tackle.
Conor Townsend produced a brilliant last-ditch lunge to stop Brown shooting after he got goal-side two minutes later.
Johnstone beat away a fierce inswinging free-kick from Jordan Thompson just before the hour mark, before Powell fired a free-kick well over.
Adam Reach had a long-range shot deflected for a Baggies corner five minutes later, while – at the other end – Surridge had a close-range shot saved by Johnstone after a flowing move.
Livermore shot wide from close range after Furlong’s long throw caused bother for Stoke as the visitors attempted to make the breakthrough.
City blew another great chance to take the lead when Surridge saw his spot-kick saved after he had been fouled by the keeper in a race for a loose ball.
But Powell finally broke the deadlock when he lobbed the ball over the advancing goalkeeper from Tommy Smith’s throughball.
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