STOKE CITY'S three-match winning streak came to a halt as they were edged out by West Bromwich Albion in the Midlands derby at the Hawthorns.
Brown Ideye bagged the only goal of the game to earn Albion their first home victory over the Potters in the Premier League era.
The Nigerian international struck inside the opening 20 minutes, while City struggled to fashion any clear-cut opportunities in front of the Albion goal on a frustrating afternoon in the Black Country.
To make matters worse for Stoke boss Mark Hughes, Erik Pieters, Victor Moses and Jon Walters failed to last the distance after picking up injuries which will be a concern ahead of next weekend’s home date with Crystal Palace.
City were given a major boost before a ball had even been kicked as Hughes was able to recall skipper Ryan Shawcross to his starting line-up after a six-game absence with a back problem.
Shawcross returned to the heart of the Potters’ defence in place of the injured Philipp Wollscheid – the only change to the side that had beaten Everton 11 days earlier.
City were, however, slow out of the blocks as the home side set the early pace … and were rewarded with Ideye’s goal.
He broke the deadlock in the 19th minute, by which time Saido Berahino had forced a third minute save out of Asmir Begovic with a low drive from outside the area which the Stoke No.1 palmed away for a corner.
Berahino went close again four minutes later with a deflected shot that Begovic dealt with but it wasn’t too much longer before the Albion fans were in celebratory mood, courtesy of Ideye.
The Nigerian international outwitted Phil Bardsley to send a stooping header from Craig Gardner’s right-wing cross beyond the reach of Begovic to give Pulis’ men the goal their bright start deserved.
Berahino squandered an opportunity to double Albion’s lead just before the half hour mark. Craig Dawson’s inch-perfect pass sent him clear in the inside-right channel but he dragged his shot wide of the target.
Brown had the ball in the back of the Stoke net moments later but Albion’s joy was short-lived, courtesy of an offside flag.
City were forced to make a change at the start of the second half with Geoff Cameron replacing Pieters, who had been limping in the closing stages of the first period.
Peter Crouch was unable to capitalise after Albion’s England ‘keeper Ben Foster had failed to collect a Glenn Whelan cross from the left, while at the other end Ideye headed wide of the target as the home side went in search of a second.
Tony Pulis was forced to make a change 10 minutes into the second half as Boaz Myhill replaced his injured No.1 Foster – a fate that also befell City’s Moses two minutes later as he succumbed to a knock and was replaced by Marko Arnautovic.
Myhill made his first significant contribution of the afternoon in the 63rd minute as he tipped behind a looping header from Walters that seemed destined for the top left-hand corner of his net.
Begovic made another fine save to deny Ideye, while City were forced to make their third and final substitution with 22 minutes on the clock with Mame Diouf joining the action in place of Walters after the Republic of Ireland international had sustained a head injury in a collision with Craig Dawson.
Myhill’s save from Walters proved to be the closest City came, while James Morrison tested Begovic with a pile-driver of a shot 10 minutes from time as Albion looked to kill off the contest.
Myhill bagged a yellow card in added time after bringing down Crouch two yards outside his area but Arnautovic drilled the resultant free-kick into the Albion wall.