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    Stoke City 0-1 West Bromwich Albion Match Report

    Referee Michael Oliver seen here giving Charlie Adam a red card after his altercation with Craig Dawson
    The search for the elusive first win of the season continues for Stoke City, after what can only be described as an eventful afternoon which culminated in the home side finishing the match with nine men. After four games the record reads two home defeats & two away draws resulting in two points, which is a surprising trend for a side that have been notorious for gaining the majority of their points at home. However, that has been a trend that has filtered throughout the league with more away victories than the usual quota. Before yesterday's defeat Stoke had kept three consecutive clean sheets against West Brom at the Britannia & after going behind the home fans were quick to vent their frustrations with what was perceived by them as unfair officiating.

    Former Barcelona player Ibrahim Afellay was the first to be dismissed after tangling with Craig Gardner on 25 minutes. The West Brom player clipped the Dutchman as he was racing away & whilst on his knees Gardner gave him a slight tap on the chin which Afellay was clearly annoyed by & reacted hastily to with a couple of attempts back at Gardner with the latter being a slap to the face. Prior to that there was an incident which resulted in Stoke's number 14 colliding with the advertising board & that may have had a slight bearing on his impetuous reaction. It was a clear sending off by the rules though Stoke felt aggrieved that Gardner didn't get the same punishment & was only shown a yellow card.

    Less than six minutes later Charlie Adam was joining his sent off team mate in the home changing room after the Scotsman got involved with Craig Dawson after blocking the West Brom defenders attempted cross. From the impact of the collision Dawson was hurled onto the ground & it appeared that Adam had planted his foot on his thigh leading to Michael Oliver showing Stoke a second red card. That left manager Mark Hughes with no shortage of talking points after the game & this was his view on what had transpired. "I'm delighted with the performance of my team under difficult circumstances.

    "The first red card, Ibrahim Afellay reacted to being flicked in the face. By the letter of the law, maybe they both should have been sent off.

    "With the second one, Charlie Adam ends up standing on the lad's leg after the other player had followed through on him. I think it was harsh."

    This was the tenth occasion that a Premier League side had been reduced to nine men before half time & ironically before yesterday the most recent was Stoke back in December 2013 against Newcastle United. Despite losing two men within the first half Mark Hughes will take some encouragement that only a single goal separated the teams at the final whistle. Lesser teams may have capitulated & allowed West Brom to easily pick them off but regardless of the numerical disadvantage Stoke stayed resolute & defiant. There was little difference in possession, attempted shots & shots on target. Stoke even managed to edge it out on corners but Hughes will be under no illusions that points are what it is about.
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    Item Reviewed: Stoke City 0-1 West Bromwich Albion Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Bola Williams
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