Match ends, Stoke City 3, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is feeling "more confident" after his side survived a chaotic conclusion to secure a crucial home victory over struggling West Bromwich Albion.
The Potters, with Hughes under severe scrutiny and forced to defend his record after a poor start to the season, looked to be comfortable when Joe Allen's close-range strike and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's cool finish put them in control at half-time.
Salomon Rondon gave West Brom hope six minutes after the break, and the hosts were living on their nerves as they escaped several scares with the visitors wasting chances in a frenzied finale.
Then, while Hughes was demanding the final whistle, Stoke broke away, with West Brom stranded upfield, for Choupo-Moting to set up a simple finish for substitute Ramadan Sobhi to extend the visitors' winless streak to a club record 18 games in all competitions.
"I'm more confident now," said Hughes, whose side had suffered three consecutive defeats prior to Saturday's game. "I didn't really have any doubts but I'm more confident after this week.
"I'm really proud of everyone connected with Stoke, internally with the staff, the players and the owners John and Peter Coates. They have been really supportive. They have been at the club this week reassuring everybody, saying it's business as usual.
"They base their business model on picking the right people and letting them do their job and I like to think we have repaid them a little bit today. They are top drawer."
Hughes still retains support
This match assumed 'must-win' status for Hughes after the toxic atmosphere at the end of the 3-0 home defeat by West Ham United, and despite his insistence that he retained the support of chairman Peter Coates and the club's board.
Hughes was able to acknowledge warm applause as he made his way down one side of the stadium to his seat in the technical area before kick-off - although dissent was seen in the form of a single 'Hughes Out' banner in the stand opposite.
Stoke's fans were warmed by an impressive first 30 minutes that brought the reward of Allen's goal, swept in from a Peter Crouch shot that conveniently turned into the perfect cross.
Choupo-Moting's composed second goal should have served to settle matters on the pitch, in the stadium and on the touchline but the second half turned into a battle against nerves as Rondon's strike gave West Brom renewed optimism and chipped away at Stoke's fragile confidence.
Their survival in the face of West Brom's improvement in the second half was crucial to Hughes' immediate future and they managed to get over the line.
There was a frenzied final few minutes as Stoke's goal led a charmed life but there can be no complaints about the level of support for Hughes and his team as the home fans roared them on.
It was not pretty but it did not have to be. This was about the three points for team and manager and in the end it was job done.
Misery piles up for Pardew and Baggies
Alan Pardew's winless streak of five games since succeeding Tony Pulis as manager pales alongside West Brom's current club record sequence of 18 games without a victory - but this was still an afternoon of bitter frustration.
The Baggies had their chances before Choupo-Moting's counter-punch right on half-time, and had enough possession and half-chances to rescue a point once Rondon put them back in the game.
In an astonishing final sequence, goalkeeper Jack Butland saved on the line from his own defender Tom Edwards, who had been excellent on his Premier League debut, and Stoke broke away to apply the finishing touch.
In the end, however, not helped by substitute Nacer Chadli's swift withdrawal with injury after being sent on as a half-time substitute, Pardew's major problem is that he has inherited a goal-shy side low on self-belief.
West Brom, in the second half at least, showed there are some promising signs but it will take even a character as self-confident as Pardew time to start the reconstruction.
"The first two goals are errors on our part and that's unusual since I've been here, we've been pretty sound defensively," he said.
"This team has gone a long time without winning so all credit to them for the way they played in the second half.
"Not only did they show the commitment and desire that you'd want as a manager, or a fan, they showed great quality, and with a little bit of luck we could have got an equaliser. We at least deserved that."
Man of the match - Tom Edwards (Stoke City)
An enjoyable occasion for Allen - the best of the stats
- West Brom are the first Premier League team to go 17+ games without a win since Aston Villa (19) in January 2016.
- This is the Baggies' longest ever winless run in league competition (D8 L9).
- Stoke bagged three goals in a Premier League game for the first time since beating Hull 3-1 in April.
- Allen scored his first Premier League goal in 30 appearances, last netting against Crystal Palace in February.
- Allen scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the first time in his career.
- Choupo-Moting also both scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the first time.
- Rondón has scored in all three of his Premier League away games against Stoke City.
- Chris Brunt provided his 45th assist in the Premier League for West Brom, 21 more than any other Baggies player in the competition.
Stoke are at Huddersfield Town on 26 December in a 15:00 GMT kick-off. West Brom take on Everton in the first or two successive home games at The Hawthorns. They also kick-off at 15:00 GMT.
- 24FletcherSubstituted forDioufat 67'minutes
- 22ShaqiriSubstituted forSobhiat 79'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 3GibbsSubstituted forBurkeat 81'minutes
- 14McCleanSubstituted forChadliat 45'minutesSubstituted forRodriguezat 61'minutes
- Neil Swarbrick
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Stoke City 3, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Goal! Stoke City 3, West Bromwich Albion 1. Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting following a fast break.
Attempt saved. Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Chris Brunt with a cross.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Thomas Edwards.
Attempt saved. Mame Biram Diouf (Stoke City) header from very close range is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Ramadan Sobhi with a cross.
Corner, Stoke City. Conceded by Chris Brunt.
Foul by Salomón Rondón (West Bromwich Albion).
Kevin Wimmer (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Jay Rodriguez (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Salomón Rondón.
Gareth Barry (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City).
Foul by Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion).
Peter Crouch (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Oliver Burke replaces Kieran Gibbs.
Substitution, Stoke City. Ramadan Sobhi replaces Xherdan Shaqiri.
Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Kevin Wimmer (Stoke City).
Jonny Evans (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.