Midlands derby ends in stalemate

By Phillipa Hopwood: It was far from a dull affair at The Britannia Stadium as West Brom and Stoke played out a stalemate in the Midlands derby.

Stoke City started with one of the most attacking sides that fans have seen in recent times as Hughes’ teamed up Charlie Adam and Stephen Ireland with Oussama Assaidi, as well as giving Andy Wilkinson his first start this season.

Steve Clarkes side were missing Chris Blunt and Ben Foster as they looked to go five games unbeaten in the Premier League.

With such attacking line-up’s announced it was predicted to be a high scoring game, but it was anything but. Stoke had the first real chance of the opening half as Jon Walter hit a tame shot at Albion ‘keeper Myhill.

West Brom then forced a series of fantastic saves from Stoke ‘keeper Begovic, first at the feet of Stephane Sessegnon before the Benin international tried to set up team mate Morgan Amalfitano with the same outcome.

Marko Arnautovic was having another outstanding game for Stoke and he nearly capped it off with a clever free kick but Ireland couldn’t equalise on the chance and the ball was knocked out for a corner.

The Austrian was then involved in the last action of the half as he tried to volley Assaidi’s cross but  the shot was off target.

Kenwyne Jones was brought on in the second half for Walters and the striker had an immediate impact as he won Stoke’s first corner of the half.

The host’s had the best chance of the half in the 64th minute when Arnautovic ran down the right and set up Ireland but the Irishman fired over the bar.

Begovic was just as busy in the second half as he could only palm away the shot from Billy Jones after the defender burst into the Stoke penalty area.

Charlie Adam then tried to lob Myhill from the halfway line but the ‘keeper was all over his effort.

Youssouf Mulumbu tried to steal the points for The Baggies with four minutes to go but his shot was agonisingly wide.

Chances came thick and fast in the final few minutes but neither team could break the deadlock and the points were deservedly shared.

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