English Premiership

Stoke heartbreak as Rondon snatches draw

Mark Hughes (Getty Images)
Mark Hughes (Getty Images)

London - Stoke City were left heartbroken when Salomon Rondon's injury-time header snatched a late 1-1 draw for West Bromwich Albion at Bet365 Stadium on Saturday.

Stoke City had slightly more of the ball at home against a West Bromwich Albion that are known for their more cautious defensive approach under manager Tony Pulis.

In the first half there were very few clear cut chances, with Glen Johnson going closest in the 24th minute. After linking up with striker Wilfried Bony, Johnson chipped the ball over Ben Foster only for Craig Dawson to brilliantly clear off the line.

Yet, it would be Stoke who claimed the lead when Allen tapped in from close range in the 72nd minute. Goalkeeper Lee Grant was in some inspired form as he kept out a number of Albion attempts in the final stages.

Yet, Mark Hughes' men couldn't hold on to their lead as Salomon Rondon's late header secured a draw for the visitors.

There seemed to be a nervous atmosphere in the Bet365 Stadium when struggling Stoke City faced West Bromwich Albion in an English Premier League encounter on Saturday.

Mark Hughes' Stoke had lost four games in a row in all competitions and were rooted at the bottom of the Premier League table.

In the first half there were few clear openings for both teams with Salomon Rondon's shot from 20 yards after five minutes being the brightest of the early exchanges.

Yet, Stoke were largely controlling ball possession against a West Brom outfit who predictably under Tony Pulis were content to sit deep and counter-attack.

It wasn't until the 24th minute when the Potters finally opened up the Baggies defence - Glen Johnson linked up with Wilfried Bony and chipped the ball over keeper Ben Foster.

However, defender Craig Dawson did brilliantly to hack the ball clear off the line and away from danger. West Brom were creating little going forward but had few alarms to deal with at the back.

Nonetheless, immediately after the break Joe Allen must have thought he had given Stoke the lead in the 49th minute. Marko Arnautovic's cross found the midfielder but his header was deflected over by Dawson once again.

Stoke had claims for a penalty in the 54th minute after Erik Pieters went tumbling after a Matty Phillips challenge, however, nothing was given.

Most of the momentum was with the home side against a West Brom team who rarely offered a threat. It was again the Potters who went close in the 68th minute when Xherdan Shaqiri's free kick found Peter Crouch, whose toe-poke from close range went wide.

With the nerves still thick in the air, the Potters finally found the lead their dominance deserved. Shaqiri's cross in the 72nd minute led to a scramble in the box and Allen was able to slide home the first goal.

The delirious celebrations of the Stoke fans quickly subsided when Lee Grant did superbly to save a James McClean header in the 76th minute. Pulis' side were throwing numbers forward in search of an equaliser but it seemed as if City might just survive the storm.

However, it was to be heartbreak for Hughes' men when Rondon's near post header in the 91st minute looped into the net to deny Stoke a morale-boosting three points.

Sat 04 Jul 20 13:30 PM (SAST)
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