In a game of few chances, the Potters took their opportunity in the 75th minute when a mistake from Jonas Olsson fell to Michael Kightley who put in a pinpoint cross for the midfielder who made no mistake from five yards out, which was enough to give his side all three points.
Steve Clarke made six changes from his team that was beaten in midweek. In came Shane Long, Zoltan Gera, Markus Rosenberg, Graeme Dorrans, Steven Reid and Goran Popov as the Scot looked to shake up his side following its 3-1 defeat to Swansea.
Meanwhile, Tony Pulis made just on change from his team that beat Newcastle as Kenwyne Jones replaced the injured Peter Crouch.
The game started slowly as both teams struggled for rhythm going forward but it was the visitors who threatened first through Jones who leaped highest in the penalty area and headed a Charlie Adam cross towards goal but his effort went inches wide of the post with Boaz Myhill well beaten.
West Brom looked out of sync early on but in the 22nd minute it clicked into gear as Rosenberg played a delightful through ball for Dorrans but Ryan Shawcross was on hand to make a perfect sliding tackle to stop his in his tracks.
The home side was growing frustrated by the Potters' resistance but that almost changed when Reid spied Asmir Begovic off his line and tried an audacious 40-yard effort which looked to be creeping in but the keeper just managed to claw the ball over the bar at the last second.
After the break the tone of the game continued as both teams struggled in the final third of the pitch with a mixture of good defending and poor attacking the reason for the continued stalemate.
Clarke introduced Romelu Lukaku and Peter Odemwingie into the action just after the hour mark to try and get attacking impetus but both initially struggled to get into the game against a physical Stoke back line, who had kept six clean sheets prior to the match-up against the Baggies.
The Potters stubborn defending paid off as they took the lead through Whitehead following a mistake from Olsson whose failed clearance fell kindly to Kightley in 20-yards out.
The former Wolves man drove into the box and crossed for the midfielder who struck the ball first time and smashed it into the top corner of net leaving Myhill with no chance.
West Brom threw everything at Pulis’ side in the last 10 minutes but was unable to find that elusive goal as a great effort from Dorrans was well saved by Begovic which was enough to secure the points and the first away win of the season for the Potters.
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