West Bromwich Albion 2 - Stoke City 1

Date: Saturday 1st September 2018 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Johnstone 6.0, Dawson 7.4, Hegazi 6.7, Bartley 6.3, Gibbs 7.1, Phillips 7.0, Livermore 7.6, Brunt 5.8, Barnes 7.0 (Barry, 86 5.7), Rodriguez 6.8, Gayle 8.4 (Robson-Kanu, 72 5.5)
Unused subs: Myhill, Burke, Leko, Adarabioyo, Field
Manager: Darren Moore 6.9
Scorers: Gayle (16, 59)
Referee: Simon Hooper 4.8
Attendance: 25,183   Home Fans 7.4   Away Fans 4.4
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 24

Brendan Clegg:

I thought this was a really good performance for the most part.

There were some season-best performances from a few players, nobody had a bad game, our effort and intensity were really high and I thought our profligacy in front of goal and our tendency to over-play in deep areas at times were our biggest dangers.

Stoke were poor. Surprisingly poor with their squad. They looked shakey at the back, toothless up front, predictable out wide and I felt we physically dominated them in the middle whenever they got near to us.

I thought despite the odd sloppy pass we played the ball through the team well.

The players looked more comfortable in the new formation especially on transitions with Gibbs and Phillips doing everything asked of them.

Up front we were a threat, scored 2 brilliant goals and should probably had a few more.

On set plays we were really good defensively and looked like we might score with every one we got.

Incredibly with the penalty miss and the worldy at the end we might have thrown it away but a terrific 3 points going into the short break.

Berahino was totally anonymous and McClean worked hard, kept running up and down the wing slinging the ball in (41 crosses from Stoke in 1 game!) but lacked any quality.

  • Johnstone- 7 A couple of scary moments with the ball at his feet but caught it more frequently instead of punching everything and therefore spread more confidence.
  • Daws - 8 Really solid, calm and there is something about him that brings out the best in Hegazi. Does he have an invisible lead to stop him running off into no-mans-land?
  • Hegazi - 8 Best performance this season. Heart-in-mouth when he dragged the ball past 3 players on the edge of his box but he can play. Headed everything away.
  • Bartley- 8 Better and you have to love his attitude and commitment. Ropey on the ball but we’ll gloss over that.
  • Phillips - 7 Up and down the wing, great moments, showed his pace and power.
  • Livermore - 8 Best performance in ages. Absolutely gobbled them up in the centre physically, chased and pressed. Took more risks playing forward passes. Gave it away more but actually created things.
  • Brunt - 7 Hit a few poor passes early doors but settled down and had a much stronger game.
  • Gibbs - 7 Seems made for this system. Defended well but really contributed going forward and his contribution to the first was as good as any number 10 in this league provides.
  • Barnes - 7 Always a threat. Worked hard, found pockets to hurt them. Should probably have scored in first half injury time when put through.
  • JRod - As above. Set the tone for the team with his running. Should’ve done much better 2nd half when put through and scuffed his shot.
  • Gayle - 8 Pace was great but 2 goals of the highest quality. Instinctive goalscorer we’ve not had since Saido at his early peak.
  • HRK & Barry - I’d rather have seen Burke and Field get minutes.

Peter Wall:

Boiler Stoked

This game was always going to be eventful with the likely return of unpopular old boys and coming at the end of yet another disappointing Transfer/Loan window.

Perhaps I am being a little harsh but I was very relieved to hear that final whistle because the Johnstone, Bartley, Hegazi trio seem to create so much chaos with their attempted distribution.

I also thought Stoke were surprising poor... in all departments. If only Berahino had taken that penalty! However, there were some excellent WBA performances.

Livermore looks a lot fitter than last season and Dawson is such a dependable defender – just hope he does not start an Odemwingie type build up to the January window.

Brilliant goals from the excellent Gayle — a natural goal scorer – showed tremendous control, pace and accuracy with his second goal. Newcastle are perpetually on TV so we can see the same old Rondon.

I sit behind the players tunnel — it seems we have a new Manager because Graeme Jones is directing all the traffic while Big Dave does the odd whistle with his fingers.

I was very upset to read the Henry Winter 2 page article on the wonderful GMac in the Times. What a dreadful way for our Board (Who is left?) to treat such a great and loyal servant. I see Darren Moore has just had a statement rushed out saying effectively... We have moved on. Maybe, but these things need to be handled with a little TLC.

Talking of age, we see Tyrone Mears has arrived on the most uncertain of all contracts — rolling monthly? Known as Bygone Tears when he left Bolton and went to the States.

Our Peace type transfer dealing continues – forced to take a big loss on Chadli, having asked too much. All done at last minute so no time to agree replacements. window net profit — approx £12m (Ambitious message??)

The troops are beginning to get restless with the actions from "those" in charge. "This mob talk a good game..." Would I Lai to you...

Other News — EU fishing problems with headline Crash, Bang, Scallop. Wonga looking for short term loans to survive. Brexit to be televised... The Great British Break Out.

I am enjoying the Bodyguard on BBC (Sundays). Observing the antics of the marvellous Keely Hawes as Home Secretary, I was thinking of a previous Home Secretary who claimed the naughtiest thing she ever did was to run through a field of wheat.

Following a recent theme of Health & Safety Product Warnings, seen on instructions for Kitchen Scales... "Always remove clothing before use".

Last time, I mentioned a forthcoming BBC documentary hosted by Adrian Chiles... Drinkers Like Me. It was shown on Bank Holiday Monday at 9pm and included contributions around a WBA match in April. Delighted to see the excellent reviews in the National Press and elsewhere. WBA Fan Frank Skinner also appeared. Congratulations to Adrian and the production team for tackling this important issue.

Didcot Baggie:

What a joy it is to see Albion winning games and playing on the front foot. Full credit to Darren Moore for a system that plays to the strengths of our attack-minded players. With Dawson at the back to partner Hegazi, we should stay solid and present a threat at set pieces. Only Johnstone worries me - he's no Ben Foster. Thank you to Newcastle for letting us have Gayle - made to score goals in this league.

Saw the Mansfield game as well - some talent in the youth. I liked the look of Townsend and hope Leko gets some Premiership minutes.


Glad to see Field AND Leko on the bench, but hope they are really used when we need some liveliness and effort.