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West Bromwich Albion earned a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Stoke City to set a new club record unbeaten streak in the Barclays Premier League.
The West Midlands side had the lion's share of the chances at the Britannia Stadium but after being unable to break the deadlock, they picked up a point that extends their undefeated run to five top-flight matches.
The home side will also be happy with a result that ends a run of three straight league losses that had left them languishing towards the bottom of the table.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes made three changes from the side who lost 1-0 to Fulham before the international break, with a double switch in the middle drafting in Charlie Adam and Oussama Assaidi. While that reshuffle appeared to be tactical, Hughes had less choice in handing Andy Wilkinson his first league start of the season, with in-form defender Geoff Cameron struggling with a calf injury.
His counterpart, Steve Clarke, maintained continuity from the 1-1 draw with Arsenal, with the only change being Nicolas Anelka replaced by Victor Anichebe, who returned from a groin injury.
It was the visitors who got off to the better start as Stephane Sessegnon saw his shot sail over the crossbar in the ninth minute shortly before he went one-on-one with Asmir Begovic, only to see the goalkeeper deny him with a fine save.
Hughes' men worked their way back into the game and their best chance came just before the break when a clever free-kick was met by Stephen Ireland. Boaz Myhill did well to get down low to his effort.
The visitors came out more brightly at the start of the second half, and their penalty appeals were waved away in the 59th minute by referee Howard Webb after Saido Berahino's heel appeared to be caught by Adam.
The incident did little to disrupt Stoke, who again went close through Ireland soon afterwards, only to see that effort fly over the crossbar. Adam then challenged Myhill with a long-range effort.
Despite that pressure, Stoke could not find the back of the net, meaning that Hughes must wait a little longer for his first win in the league since the end of August. It could even have been defeat as West Brom pressed for a winner late on, with their best chance being Sessegnon one-on-one with Begovic, only to see the goalkeeper to tip his effort wide.
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes: "We are struggling for goals, but that's been prevalent here before I came, it’s something that we're working on. I think in terms of chances created, we are still creating the same if not more chances [than before Hughes' arrival] given the fact that we are playing in a slightly different way.
"It's up to us to make sure we convert the ones that we create because in every game we've played, we've created chances but haven't converted them, so the longer that goes on the more confidence we'll lose. It's important that we start scoring and start converting what we're creating."
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke: "We had some terrific chances. Off the top of my head I can remember three clear-cut – I think two for Stephane [Sessegnon] and one for Morgan [Amalfitano] in the first half – that were clear chances.
"You have to give credit to their goalkeeper who gets man of the match, which tells you a little bit about the balance of play and where the best chances fell. On another day, we should be talking about a good victory but instead of that it's a hard-earned point."
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|01 Jan 2014||v Everton (H)|
|05 Apr 2014||v Chelsea (A)|
|14 Dec 2013||v Hull (A)|
|08 Mar 2014||v Norwich (A)|
|29 Jan 2014||v Sunderland (A)|