Controversial striker Saido Berahino was unable to inspire Stoke City to a positive result on his first return to The Hawthorns as James Morrison’s early goal earned West Bromwich Albion all three points on Saturday afternoon.
Berahino, who secured a £12,000,000 transfer to The Potters just two weeks ago, was booed and jeered by the home supporters from the moment he stepped out of the tunnel for the pre-match warm-up but failed to make any significant impact on the contest. Instead, it was Morrison who will grab all of the headlines and his early goal was enough to decide a contest that demonstrated the fierce rivalry that is continuing to develop between these two clubs.
A victory further cements West Brom’s position in eighth position and Tony Pulis’ side are now genuine contenders for the Europa League football. Meanwhile, Stoke slip down into the bottom half of the table and The Potters have yet to beat a team managed by Pulis since his departure from the club in 2013.
Here are three things we learnt from Saturday’s clash…
Bad blood remains between the Midland rivals
There was always going to be a simmering undertone to this game, mainly due to the appearance of controversial striker Saido Berahino. The 23-year-old was making his first return to The Hawthorns since his £12,000,000 transfer to Stoke City just over two weeks ago and his presence during the warm-up was met with jeers from the home supporters. However, this was nothing compared to the deafening boos that rang around the stadium when Berahino was brought on as a substitute early in the second half and The Albion faithful made their feelings abundantly clear.
This fixture is a classic example of a fierce midlands rivalry and there was certainly no love lost between the two clubs on Saturday afternoon. Tony Pulis refused to shake the hand of Mark Hughes both before and after the final whistle whilst the conclusion of the game saw scuffles in the stands between opposition supporters. To say that bad blood now exists between West Brom and Stoke would be something of an understatement.
In the end, Berahino was very much a peripheral figure when he was introduced in the second half. The striker struggled to make any impact on the game and was never given an opportunity to grab the headlines for an equalising goal by a determined Albion defence. Berahino may turn out to be a fantastic signing for Stoke, but the day belonged to Tony Pulis and the West Brom supporters.