English Premiership

Adam late-show boosts Stoke

2014-05-11 18:57
Charlie Adam (AFP Photo)

West Bromwich - Charlie Adam scored a late winner as Stoke City beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 at The Hawthorns on Sunday to cap off their best league campaign in almost 40 years.

A Gareth McAuley own goal put the visitors in front before Stephane Sessegnon's strike restored parity, but Scottish midfielder Adam found the net with only three minutes to go as Stoke won for just the second time in their last 17 away matches.

Their away form may have been disappointing, but this result ensures that the Potters finish with their highest points total - 50 - in the Premier League era.

And Newcastle United's 2-1 defeat at Liverpool allowed Stoke to leapfrog the Magpies and end the season in ninth place, the first time they have finished in the top half of the top division since coming fifth back in 1975.

Mark Hughes has succeeded in improving a Stoke side that had already consolidated in the Premier League under previous manager Tony Pulis, and this was their fifth consecutive win away to West Brom at the highest level.

Stoke took a deserved lead midway through the first half when Marko Arnautovic cut the ball back from the left-hand side of the penalty area and Northern Irish defender McAuley turned it into his own net.

In contrast to their opponents, this has been a season to forget for West Brom, who came into the final day just three points clear of the relegation zone, even if their far superior goal difference to that of 18th-placed Norwich City meant there was no longer anything to fear.

Pepe Mel's men drew level thanks to a low strike by Sessegnon shortly before the hour mark, but Adam came on as a late substitute for Jonathan Walters and dispatched a left-footed effort to decide the contest.

A year after coming eighth, the Baggies finish with just 36 points, one place and three points above the drop, and it remains to be seen if Spaniard Mel will still be in charge after the summer.

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