Steve Clarke was happy with events in front of him. But the view behind the Albion boss might have delighted him just as much.
Because while those on the pitch at the Britannia Stadium offered further evidence that the Baggies are in increasingly rude health, the players left kicking their heels on the sidelines were equally significant.
The 14 men who played a part in the Potteries produced Albion’s most complete display at Stoke in decades – a performance and array of chances that on most days would have delivered victory.
Meanwhile, left on the bench were two more full internationals including the club captain and a highly-rated former England Under-21 defender, the unused figures from arguably the strongest substitutes’ bench in Albion history.
Sitting in the stands were a Sweden striker and Macedonia full-back.
And back at the training ground, injured or omitted, was the captain of Uruguay, a former Hungary skipper, internationals from Ireland and Scotland, a potential £5.5m winger and one of the hottest prospects to emerge from the Hawthorns academy in years.
All are potential first-team figures keeping Clarke’s current starters honest.
And the result was another hugely satisfying display that confirmed a new-found confidence and swagger following an unhappy start to the season.
To the rest of the country, another goalless draw between two teams who routinely combine to serve up Premier League shockers was par for the course.
Yet those in attendance will confirm this was nothing like most dismal Baggies-Potters clashes of recent times.
It was an engaging, open contest with plenty of chances, the best of which fell to Clarke’s men.
They extended their unbeaten record at their former ‘bogey ground’ to four matches and, had they not been thwarted by a goalkeeper in inspired form and a dreadful refereeing error by one of the world’s best officials, they would have been heading back down the M6 with two more points to add to their tally.
Asmir Begovic’s stunning display between the sticks for Stoke was a source of frustration for Clarke while Howard Webb and his assistant’s failure to spot an obvious foul by Charlie Adam on Youssouf Mulumbu in the Potters’ penalty area was a trigger for incredulity.
Yet once his heart rate returned to normal on Saturday evening, Clarke would have reflected on another largely encouraging afternoon’s work.
A team that became porous in the final part of last season collected a third clean sheet in eight Premier League fixtures this season and have still conceded just three goals in open play.
And, aside from a glorious opportunity that Stoke’s Stephen Ireland blazed over the crossbar in the second half, Clarke’s men rarely looked under threat of having their impressive defensive record dented with stand-in goalkeeper Boaz Myhill enjoying one of the quietest afternoons of his career.
Further forwards, the instant chemistry created by the club’s deadline-day dealings again allowed them to ask constant questions of an opposing back four – questions to which only Begovic had answers.
Claudio Yacob and Mulumbu both missed the target narrowly, Morgan Amalfitano was denied brilliantly by Begovic and Stephane Sessegnon, whose super all-round display was the stand-out feature of the visitors’ attacking effort, found the home gloveman in unbeatable form.
A first-half save from the Benin international was stunning and a second, last-gasp block from the same player was terrific, although in truth the Baggies man should have ensured the Bosnia international never had a chance to make his final, crucial intervention.
A better strike from Sessegnon at the death would have handed Albion certain victory and the points return that their efforts merited.
Instead they had to settle for the single point that, in truth, most travelling fans would have accepted gladly before a ball was kicked.
Albion looked more potent than their hosts from the early stages and their first clear chance arrived on 19 minutes when Saido Berahino, who kept his place ahead of James Morrison and Chris Brunt, threaded a fine through-ball into Sessegnon’s path.
The Baggies man connected well with his shot but Begovic made a brilliant save.
Sessegnon sent another effort narrowly wide from a Victor Anichebe cross before Berahino and Sessegnon combined deftly to set up Amalfitano, who attempted to give Begovic the ‘Old Trafford treatment’, only for the Stoke man to read his attempted chip and claw the ball away superbly.
The home side enjoyed their best spell in the final 15 minutes of the opening half but failed to test Myhill and, after the Baggies made a bright start to the second period, they should have been rewarded with a spot-kick.
Mulumbu darted along the byline towards goal and his heel was clipped so clearly by Adam that his boot was removed.
But Mr Webb waved away the protests to the disgust of the Albion man.
Stoke could have rubbed salt into Baggies wounds when Marko Arnautovic sprinted down the right and crossed expertly to give Ireland his side’s best chance of the game but the on-loan Villa man fired over the bar with Myhill again able to watch.
Then, in the dying moments, Sessegnon weaved brilliantly through the heart of the Stoke defence to give himself a one-on-one with Begovic.
But, with the Baggies fans behind the goal ready to celebrate a match-winning strike, Sessegnon fired too close to the keeper and he made another good save.
It meant a mixture of frustration and pride for Clarke and his players.
But it was good enough to extend the wait for the impressive cast waiting in the wings.