Second-half substitute Dean Whitehead scored the only goal of the game as Stoke City won 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion.
Stoke capitalised on an error from Jonas Olsson to break the deadlock after 74 minutes as Whitehead finished from close range.
The hosts piled forward as they looked for a reply to but, bar a decent effort from Graham Dorrans, the Baggies were unable to fashion clear-cut opportunities for an equaliser as the Potters recorded their first away win since January 2.
Tony Pulis was unable to call on the services of Peter Crouch while Steve Clarke rung the changes following defeat against Swansea in midweek - which brought a run of four wins in a row to an end. Amongst six changes to the side, Markus Rosenberg made his debut for the hosts.
It was the visitors who carved out the clearest chance of the first-half but Kenwyne Jones’s header dropped the wrong side of the post with Boaz Myhill reduced to the role of spectator following a lofted ball to the back stick from Geoff Cameron.
The Baggies failed to threaten the goal of Asmir Begovic bar a speculative Steven Reid free-kick from the halfway line that the Bosnian pretty comfortably tipped over.
Stoke were a little more adventurous in the early part of the second half, which afforded the home side more space but they failed – bar a Claudio Yacob header from a corner – to put the goal of Begovic under serious threat prompting Clarke to introduce Romelu Lukaku and Peter Odemwingie just after the hour mark.
Having moved to a front three, West Brom were able to pin their visitors back but were still unable to create one clear-cut chance as the clock hit 70 minutes – in fact, Gareth McAuley had to be alert to cover for his defensive colleague Olsson to prevent Jones from a clear shot following a smart turn from the Trinidadian.
Despite the reprieve, the Potters capitalised on another Olsson lapse to take the lead. Substitute Michael Kightly picked up a loose clearance from the Swedish international to charge into the box and square for Whitehead to give the visitors the lead with a little over 15 minutes remaining.
West Brom poured forward in response but the Potters stayed firm in the face of almost constant attack.
The hosts did create one or two chances but Begovic was equal to a decent Dorrans strike from outside the box following good feet from the Scottish international before the same man’s shot in the last minute flew over the bar.
This was only the second time this season the hosts had failed to score but questions will be asked of Clarke’s decision to make sweeping changes from the defeat at Swansea. Stoke move above Arsenal into ninth following their first away success of the season.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Kenwyne Jones, Stoke City – Didn’t manage to get a goal but deputised wonderfully well for the absent Peter Crouch as he played the lone strike role to almost perfection.
WEST BROM: Myhill 6, Reid 6, McAuley 5, Olsson 4, Popov 6, Yacob 6, Mulumbu 7, Rosenberg 6, Gera 5, Dorrans 6, Long 5. Subs: Brunt 5, Odemwingie 5, Lukaku 5.
STOKE CITY: Begovic 6, Shotton 5, Huth 5, Shawcross 6, Cameron 6, Walters 5, Whelan 5, Adam 5, N'Zonzi 6, Etherington 6, Jones 8. Subs: Kightly 6, Whitehead 7.