West Brom 1 Stoke City 2 match report: Pepe Mel in limbo after signing off with a whimper

Adam struck for the Potters with three minutes remaining

The Hawthorns

If this proves Pepe Mel’s swansong as West Bromwich Albion manager, it was a suitably downbeat farewell. Charlie Adam’s 87th-minute winner for Stoke City may not have come as late as those injury-time equalisers against Cardiff City and Tottenham but for the Hawthorns faithful it was one final disappointment and the subsequent sight of a three-quarters empty stadium as Mel and his squad embarked on a low-key lap of appreciation provided a fitting motif for a shambolic season – especially given two players, Stéphane Sessègnon and Youssouf Mulumbu, neglected to actually join in.

It was some contrast with their send-off 12 months ago when Albion celebrated an eighth-placed finish with that thrilling 5-5 draw with Manchester United. A year on, they had scraped survival in 17th and doubts cloud the future of Mel, who confirmed he would be meeting chairman Jeremy Peace for talks “in the coming days”.

Asked what he expected from those talks, the Spaniard replied: “I don’t know – I need to hear what the chairman wants for the future. Ten players are out of contract, we need at least eight or nine to come in. West Brom have to decide whether or not they want to have another season with as many problems as this one.”

Mel warrants sympathy after being thrown into a relegation fight in January with no prior experience of English football after Steve Clarke’s sacking and he has had plenty to cope with – from the Anelka “quenelle” saga, to the ill-judged sale of Shane Long, to dressing-room bust-ups.


For Stoke, by contrast, this has been an impressive first season under Mark Hughes, with Sunday’s victory ensuring they finished ninth – their best top-flight placing since 1975. “To get 50 points on board in the hardest league in world football is a huge achievement for a club like Stoke,” said the Welshman.

Stoke underlined their transformation into a passing team as they had Albion chasing shadows in the first half. Two of their most impressive performers combined for the opening goal as Steven N’Zonzi played in Marko Arnautovic on the left and his cutback was turned into his own goal by Gareth McAuley.

The biggest cheer from the home fans in the first period came when McAuley left a foot in on Peter Odemwingie – booed throughout on his Hawthorns return. An improved second-half display brought a sidefooted equaliser from Sessegnon, but after Arnautovic and Mulumbu had hit a post at either end, substitute Adam had the last word with a fine angled strike from 25 yards.

Suggested Topics
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Arts and Entertainment
You could be in the Glastonbury crowd next summer if you follow our tips for bagging tickets this week
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
peopleSwimmer also charged with crossing double land lines and excessive speeding
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style