Baggies frustrated by Potters but claim a point

West Bromwich Albion 1 Stoke City 1

Frustration has been a recurring theme this season and it was certainly the overwhelming feeling on leaving the Hawthorns on Sunday afternoon. This was a match that Albion should have won, but a combination of excellent goalkeeping, a freak goal and, for me, a lack of real ambition until the last twenty minutes mean that Carlos Corberán’s team had to settle for just one point.

Having said that, I’m sure Stoke City’s fans will feel that their team’s endeavour warranted a point. They certainly made things very difficult for their hosts, defending extremely well and not being afraid to push players forward on occasion, but their goal was incredibly fortunate and it was Albion that created the bulk of the opportunities.

It’s difficult to be overly critical of Albion’s players as they probably did enough to win the match, but if anything, I felt that they needed to get to the byline more often. When Fellows came on, he was incredibly direct as he always is, and it was perhaps no surprise that the hosts were more on top in the closing period of the game after he came on. Pipa also made a difference when he was introduced, and probably brought the best save out of the outstanding Jack Bonham with his close range shot in the closing minutes.

I thought Wallace was the pick of the attacking players, one of his best performances for some time, but I thought Grady was a little off the pace and I was desperate to see Sarmiento take on his man more often, or get behind the full back. Obviously, as fans we don’t know what the players have been told to do, but it seemed obvious that the ball inside the full back was frequently an obvious option, but rarely used. Albion’s goal came from one such instance, albeit it was Furlong who made the run. Maybe John Swift would have made a difference, but his fitness remains an issue and he did not make the matchday squad.

Brandon Thomas-Asante’s strike for the equaliser was a lovely clean hit to make it three goals in three games for him against the Potters. He was unlucky not to make it four with his improvised finish from close range that Bonham somehow managed to deflect wide of the post.

The defence performed well once again, with Kipré again the stand out performer – the Frenchman is probably leading the polls for player of the season at the moment such as been his influence so far during the campaign. Few Albion fans could understand why Cardiff fans loved him so much last season, but that is now becoming clear.

It was a frustrating result but the bigger picture remains positive. With Corberán’s attacking options limited, it is perhaps no surprise that Albion can’t find a way every time, but I think that most Baggies fans would have taken our current position at the start of the season. If the proposed takeover can get across the line in the coming weeks, the future could be looking much more positive than we thought possible a few short months ago.

Related posts