Pulis lifts referee curse while Albion jinx continues
West Bromwich Albion 0 Stoke City 3
Sunday 21 November 2010
Tony Pulis has regularly bemoaned his team's treatment by officials this season, but Stoke received a welcomeslice of fortune to help extend their amazing hoodoo over yesterday's opponents.
Stoke's manager has been so incensed by refereeing decisions that he recently presented the theory of a relegation system for offenders. Chris Foy proved Championship material by awarding the visitors two questionable penalties. Matthew Etherington and Jon Walters converted from the spot, with Walters adding a late third, to secure Stoke's seventh win in eight games against Albion.
It was only West Bromwich's third League defeat at the Hawthorns in 2010 but they should have expected an afternoon of frustration. They have suffered such a miserable record against their Staffordshire opponents that they went into this game with only one win from the previous 27 encounters.
Pulis said: "We've been on a bad run but this is the first time we've won three games in a row in the Premier League. It's a great achievement, but as I've said, whether you're winning or losing the manager stays as level as he possibly can. I've not seen the penalty decisions but I just hope they are penalties. We're due a few decisions, but I'm hoping they're good decisions."
What a difference a few weeks can make. Stoke had crashed to four successive defeats last month and Roberto di Matteo was September's manager of the month. Yet Albion carved out the only chance of an insipid first half in the 23rd minute when Youssouf Mulumbu drove a shot narrowly over the crossbar.
The game finally came to life in the 54th minute. Etherington's cross was cleared to Ricardo Fuller and his clever pass released Kenwyne Jones in the area. Scott Carson hauled him down and Etherington made no mistake from the spot.
Stoke added a second when Simon Cox upended Dean Whitehead in the box and Walters coolly found the corner. The summer signing from Ipswich piled on the misery for Di Matteo in added time when he scored Stoke's third from close range.
Di Matteo said: "For the first one there was minimal contact and he went over very easily. The second penalty decision was also harsh. If you look at the scoreline it's horrible. We haven't picked up points from the last few games and we need to roll our sleeves up."
Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the match: Shawcross
Match rating: 4/10
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