Stoke City 1-1 WBA

shaq-wba

It was a much improved performance from Stoke City, but the side are still searching for a first league win of the season after conceding a last gasp equaliser.

The Potters had taken the lead with less than 20 minutes remaining through Joe Allen, but Salomon Rondon’s late header meant the points were shared.

The result was harsh on Stoke who had dominated throughout, but much like in the EFL Cup tie against Hull, the failure to put the match to bed came back to haunt us.

But there were many positives to be taken from the 90 minutes. Not least a superb performance from Xherdan Shaqiri on the right wing. The Swiss international was in sumptuous form on his return from injury, giving full back Allan Nyom a torrid time.

Glen Johnson was brilliantly denied a first goal for the club when his effort was cleared off the line by Craig Dawson, but Allen later notched his maiden strike in Stoke colours. The Welshman tucking home following fine work by Shaqiri.

Stoke had earlier been denied at least one penalty by our favourite referee Martin Atkinson- Erik Pieters hitting the ground on two occasions under contact from the opposition.

As time ticked by it didn’t seem as though the penalty refusals would have an impact on the final result though. Lee Grant, making his Premier League debut at the age of 33, was alert to make a superb save from a James McClean header before a moment of indecision resulted in a set piece being awarded to the Baggies.

Grant and the much improved Bruno Martins Indi failed to communicate sufficiently, with the latter hurriedly smashing the ball out for a corner. We all know how Tony Pulis loves his set pieces and, in his 1,000th match in charge, he was to steal a point thanks to Rondon’s header.

Stoke remain in the bottom three, but the last couple of performances should allow Mark Hughes to breathe a little easier. Manchester United will provide a stern test but, after a trip to Old Trafford, Stoke’s fixture list is looking rather tasty.

Things aren’t quite as bad as they seemed to be.

Stoke City: Grant, Johnson, Shawcross, Martins Indi, Pieters, Cameron, Whelan, Allen (Adam 86), Shaqiri (Diouf 88), Bony (Crouch 61), Arnautovic. Unused: Given, Bardsley, Imbula, Bojan.

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