Belfast Telegraph

Vela bags a point to move West Brom up table

Stoke City 1 West Brom 1: On-loan forward Carlos Vela snatched a controversial equaliser three minutes from time to give West Brom a 1-1 draw against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.

Arsenal's Mexico international appeared to have been offside before he converted Steven Reid's cross, but there was no flag and the Baggies escaped with a point which lifted them out of the Premier League's bottom three.

Rory Delap's second goal of the season had put the hosts ahead in the 53rd minute in what had been an uninspiring game.

West Brom seemed to have undone all their hard work in hanging on in the early stages by switching off at a crucial time to allow the 34-year-old to take full advantage.

In a spirited climax Roy Hodgson's side proved they have the appetite and spirit for a relegation fight and in truth they could have snatched the win as it was Stoke hanging on at the end.

Hodgson is still awaiting his first victory after taking two points from his first two matches since succeeding Roberto Di Matteo.

The criticism of the Italian was that his style was too open — Hodgson inherited the worst defensive record in the top flight — but old habits die hard and there remains plenty of work to be done if the Baggies are to survive with 10 matches remaining.

Delap rose above Graham Dorrans to head home Pennant's 53rd-minute corner from three yards.

West Brom had a stroke of luck three minutes from time with their equaliser.

Stephen Reid swung in a right-wing cross and substitute Vela poked the ball past Begovic from close range despite appearing to have benefited from coming back from an offside position.

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