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QPR 1 West Brom 2 match report

QPR 1 West Brom 2: Green own goal sends Hoops to the foot of the table

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UPDATED:

18:27 GMT, 26 December 2012

Robert Green had a day to forget as QPR sunk to the bottom of the table with a controversial home defeat to West Brom.

Harry Redknapp showed great confidence in Green by choosing him ahead of fit-again Julio Cesar, but the decision backfired in the first half as Chris Brunt beat the England stopper from 30 yards with a shot he perhaps should have saved.

Green then dropped the ball in to his own net to give the Baggies a 2-0 lead just after the re-start, although replays showed Marc-Antoine Fortune had impeded the former West Ham stopper as he came to collect the ball as it looped up off Armand Traore.

Helpless: QPR goalkeeper Rob Green reacts to conceding an own goal early in the second-half

Hapless: QPR goalkeeper Rob Green had a day to forget as he failed to keep out the first from Christ Brunt before dropping the ball into his own net for the second goal

Match facts

QPR: Green, Da Silva (Hoilett, 64), Ferdinand, Hill, Traore, Mbia, Faurlin (Diakite, 64), Mackie, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Cisse.

Subs not used: Julio Cesar, Derry, Granero, Dyer, Ehmer.

Goals: Cisse 68

Booked: Mbia

West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov (Ridgewell, 35), Mulumbu, Morrison (Tamas, 86), Fortune, Gera, Brunt, Lukaku (Long, 76).

Subs not used: Myhill, Rosenberg, Dorrans, Odemwingie.

Goals: Brunt 29, Green 49 (og)

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)

Attendance: 17,782

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Rangers pulled one back through Djibril Cisse, but they otherwise lacked a cutting edge up front that suggests Redknapp will have to make major changes to his squad next month if his team are to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

There was an element of luck about both West Brom's goals, but other than the occasional flash of brilliance from Adel Taarabt, Redknapp's team offered little going forward and were also shaky at the back.

Kick-off was delayed by 11 minutes after West Brom's team bus was delayed by the Boxing Day sales traffic around Loftus Road.

Redknapp's blast at his under-achieving strugglers following their defeat at Newcastle seemed to have an effect early on today as QPR started promisingly amid miserable weather in west London.

Stephane Mbia fired a drive inches wide as Ben Foster scrambled across his line.

Taarabt nutmegged Brunt with a brilliant piece of skill, but the northern Irishman tripped the Moroccan up to prevent him from unleashing a shot at goal.

Youssouf Mulumbu and James Morrison both had wayward long-range efforts, but QPR were otherwise unthreatened as Clint Hill and Anton Ferdinand kept the powerful Romelu Lukaku at bay.

Wright-Phillips produced a dazzling piece of skill to beat Mulumbu and Billy Jones but Jamie Mackie could only head the winger's cross tamely wide.

QPR looked the more likely of the two sides to score, but it was the Baggies fans who were celebrating just before the half hour when Brunt put the visitors ahead.

Captain marvel: Christ Brunt opened the scoring for West Brom with a low drive from outside the area

Captain marvel: Christ Brunt's 30 yard strike opened the scoring for West Brom, although Rob Green maybe should have saved it

Not enough: Djibril Cisse's (middle) goal with 22 mins left was not enough as QPR now sit bottom of the league

Not enough: Djibril Cisse's (middle) goal after 68 mins was not enough – QPR now sit bottom of the league

The midfielder picked the ball up from Fortune and strode at goal before unleashing a 30-yard drive that sailed in to the bottom right-hand corner of Green's goal.

Although he was slightly unsighted by two of his defenders, replays showed the England goalkeeper should have maybe done better.

Morison almost made it 2-0 seconds later with a clever volley, but the home side regained their composure and went close through Mbia and Taarabt.

Battle: West Brom's Youssuf Mulumbu (red) won his duel with Stephane M'Bia

Battle: West Brom's Youssuf Mulumbu (red) won his duel with Stephane M'Bia

Rangers still looked suspect at the back, however. A bizarre mix-up between Traore and Hill allowed Brunt some time on the edge of the box but he could only shoot wide.

Albion, sensing the opportunity to score a second just before the break, continued to push forward and almost found the net in injury time through Morrison.

After the break the story remained the same. Lukaku found space in the box, but could only prod weakly at Green and Anton Ferdinand almost turned Jones' cross in to his own net.

Talisman: QPR's Adel Taarabt failed to get on the scoresheet as QPR slipped to the foot of the table

Talisman: QPR's Adel Taarabt failed to get on the scoresheet as QPR slipped to the foot of the table

Mbia summed up the lack of quality in front of goal for QPR when he wriggled free from his marker to meet Taarabt's corner, but his header flew straight back at the Moroccan, rather than at goal.

The home fans were then outraged as West Brom doubled their lead in controversial circumstances.

Traore attempted to clear Brunt's corner but instead his header looped back towards his own goal. Green attempted to collect the ball but he was impeded by Fortune, who leaned in to the stopper, causing him to drop the ball in to his own net.

West Brom celebrate as Steve Clarke's men move up to 5th in the table

West Brom players celebrate their first win in five games

QPR manager Harry Redknapp and assistant Joe Jordan

West Brom manager Steve Clarke

Harry Redknapp and Joe Jordan in discussion during the 2-1 loss to West Brom. Albion boss Steve Clarke saw his side move up to fifth in the table

The away fans ironically chanted Green's name as the Rangers players demanded Fortune be penalised for the foul, but referee Chris Foy shook his head and the goal stood.

Green gathered his composure to save well twice from the impressive Lukaku and Samba Diakite.

Albion took their foot off the accelerator and paid the price in the 69th minute when Cisse latched on to Mbia's slide-rule pass and lifted the ball over the advancing Foster.

Battle: West Brom's Billy Jones (red) attempts to stop QPR winger Shaun Wright-Phillips from getting in the cross

Battle: West Brom's Billy Jones (red) attempts to stop QPR's Shaun Wright-Phillips from getting in the cross

QPR threw everything at the away goal looking for an equaliser, but they struggled to test Foster.

At the other end Fortune thought he had killed the game off when he beat Green with six minutes to go, but his strike was correctly called offside.

Foster saved brilliantly on the line from QPR captain Clint Hill in the last minute.

Appeal: QPR thought they should have been awarded a penalty in the dying minutes but were waved away by referee Chris Foy

Appeal: QPR thought they should have been awarded a penalty in the dying minutes but were waved away by referee Chris Foy

QPR thought they should have had a
penalty in the first of five agonising added minutes for the home fans,
but Foy waved play on when Liam Ridgewell handled Mbia's header in the
box.

The home side went on
the attack again, but Foster could not be beaten and Rangers slumped to
the second defeat of Redknapp's reign.

Redknapp (right) and the QPR staff will have to regroup for thome clash against Liverpool on Sunday

The January Sales can't come soon enough for Redknapp (right) and the QPR staff who will have to regroup for thome clash against Liverpool on Sunday

Arsenal 2 West Brom 0 – Match report

Arsenal 2 West Brom 0: Arteta doubles up from the spot after Cazorla goes down easily to earn dubious first penalty

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UPDATED:

17:45 GMT, 8 December 2012

Mikel Arteta struck twice from the penalty spot – the first after a dive by fellow Spaniard Santi Cazorla – as Arsenal returned to winning ways with a Barclays Premier League victory over West Brom at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners had started brightly but took the lead through controversial fashion, after Cazorla flung himself to the floor following a challenge by Steven Reid when replays showed there was no contact.

The Baggies, who lost twice last week to halt their fine start to the season, never really recovered from the sense of injustice and there was no way back once Arteta converted from the penalty spot again on 64 minutes after Chris Brunt had tripped Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Easy as that: Mikel Arteta scored his first goal from the spot

Easy as that: Mikel Arteta scored his first goal from the spot

MATCH FACTS

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Coquelin 77), Cazorla (Podolski 87), Giroud, Gervinho (Rosicky 81)

Subs not used: Martinez, Squillaci, Jenkinson, Ramsey

Booked: Mertesacker, Giroud

Goals: Arteta 26 (pen), 64 (pen)

West Brom: Myhill, Reid, Olsson, Ridgewell (Popov 6), McAuley, Morrison, Brunt, Mulumbu, Gera (Rosenberg 75), Long, Odemwingie (Lukaku 62),

Subs not used: Daniels, Tamas, Dorrans, Fortune

Booked: Olsson, Brunt, Reid

Referee: Mike Jones

Attendance: 60,083

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It was a lively start by the home
side, who had not won in four games, but recalled most of their
first-team regulars missing from the midweek Champions League defeat at
Olympiacos, although forward Theo Walcott was sidelined by a calf
injury.

A high pass into the West Brom
penalty area was palmed away by Boaz Myhill, but Gervinho missed his
kick and could only hack the ball wide from six yards.

West Brom were forced into an early change when defender Liam Ridgewell hobbled off, replaced by Goran Popov.

On 17 minutes, Oxlade-Chamberlain
darted to the goalline on the right and looped the ball back across
goal. Cazorla arrived at pace, but could not keep his left-foot volley
down and fired the ball high into the Clock End.

West Brom were dangerous on the
counter and almost snatched the lead when captain Chris Brunt curled a
20-yard effort just wide of the top right corner.

Arsenal were awarded a penalty on 24
minutes. Cazorla cut into the left side of the area, and as he turned
back inside Steven Reid, went to ground as the defender stuck out his
leg.

Arms aloft: Arteta wheels away after the penalty hit the back of the net

Arms aloft: Arteta wheels away after the penalty hit the back of the net

Bust up: Mike Jones is surrounded by West Brom players after awarding the first penalty

Bust up: Mike Jones is surrounded by West Brom players after awarding the first penalty

Referee Mike Jones immediately
pointed to the spot, although television replays showed there looked
little contact, if any at all. Arteta stepped up to drill the ball past
Myhill.

There was more than a sense of injustice from the visitors, who soon went in search of swift recompense.

However, Arsenal soaked up the pressure and then resumed their counter attacks.

Gervinho ghosted down the left and
pulled the ball back across the face of goal, but Jack Wilshere's
sliding touch stabbed it just wide.

West Brom felt they had a penalty
shout when Per Mertesacker handled a high ball in the Arsenal box, but
the assistant on the far side flagged for a foul on the big German
defender by Jonas Olsson.

Contact Santi Cazorla won the penalty but there appeared to be no touch from Steven Reid

Contact Santi Cazorla won the penalty but there appeared to be no touch from Steven Reid

Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box

Not even close: Cazorla went down easily in the box

At the other end, Myhill pushed a low
shot from Gervinho around the post before Oxlade-Chamberlain sent an
acrobatic scissors kick over the crossbar.

West Brom started the second half with some purpose, yet not really stretching the Arsenal defence.

The Gunners went forwards quickly on
the counter, with Oxlade-Chamberlain floating a ball across the face of
goal before Olivier Giroud and Olsson squared up on the edge of the
penalty area, with the referee soon restoring calm after showing both
players a yellow card.

Gervinho was off target again when he glanced a free header wide on the penalty spot.

The Ivory Coast forward was enduring
one of those afternoons when moments later he failed to connect with
Giroud's knockdown into the six-yard box.

Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball

Up and away: Jack Wilshere battles for the ball

Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson

Mismatch Wilshere squares up to Jonas Olsson

On 64 minutes, Arsenal were awarded
another penalty. This time there was no controversy as Brunt chopped
down Oxlade-Chamberlain after the England midfielder had charged down
the right.

Arteta took it again and with the same outcome as the Spaniard blasted the spot-kick down the middle.

With a two-goal cushion, Arsenal had
some breathing space and started to produce the slick, passing football
which had been so lacking in recent performances.

Catch me if you can: Goran Popov slides in on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Catch me if you can: Goran Popov slides in on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

With 13 minutes left, Wenger sent on defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arteta tried for a hat-trick when he whipped a 22-yard free-kick around the wall, but also just past the left-hand post.

West Brom substitute Markus Rosenberg tested Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny with a low shot from 20 yards.

German international Lukas Podolski
came off the bench to somehow lift the ball over from six yards as
Arsenal closed out what was in the end a comfortable victory to edge
back up towards the top four.

You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game

You again! Arteta scored his second penalty of the game

Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession

Vying: Olivier Giroud and Jonas Olsson battle for possession

WENGER WATCH

Wenger watch: Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger went into today's match against West Brom under pressure following four matches without victory. Here, Nicholas McAvaney takes a look at how he performed.

BODY LANGUAGE
Looking sharp in his suit, Wenger (right) lasted five minutes before donning his winter coat – not because of a frosty reception from the fans however.

Often out of his seat in the opening half, Wenger stormed to the bench on 22 minutes after venting his frustration on the turf following Gervinho's missed.

Even Mikel Arteta's goal three minutes later could not remove the Frenchman's scowl, which remained until the whistle. Arteta's second goal also failed to excite the manager, who was a touch more animated in the second half, mostly in the final 10 minutes when the victory was assured.

At full-time and following a quick handshake with Steve Clarke, he was off the pitch without hesitation.

TACTICS
Opening with a 4-4-2 formation, Arsenal dominated possession and regularly peppered the opposition goal, albeit with little success.

Wenger resisted the urge to shake up his forward line soon after the break, much to the frustration of fans who grew tired of Gervinho's wasted opportunities 15 minutes into the second half and vehemently appealed to Wenger for an urgent substitution.

Francis Coquelin and Tomas Rosicky helped strengthen his midfield with 10 minutes remaining at the expense of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho.

INTERACTION
The Frenchman was unusually quiet with the officials across the first 45 minutes, only once questioning a call that saw Oliver Giroud writhing on the ground clutching his lower back just past the half hour.

He was quickly out of his seat in the second half, though, exchanging words with the fourth official to little effect.

He vented with greater aggression five minutes later after a questionable call against Arsenal, then spent the remainder of the half with his hands in his pockets, only occasionally commanding player movements in the final 10 minutes.

FANS
The home fans reserved any stick for the manager for prior to kick off. An ironic cheer erupted on 10 minutes as the manager craftily flicked the ball back from the bench for a throw in, but few had anything to say to the Frenchman throughout the half.

Fans seemed happy with Arteta's brace all but assuring Arsenal of the three points, and dutifully applauded the boss for a job well done on 90 minutes.

Liam Ridgewell exposed for toilet picture with 20 notes

Toilet roll and 20s… West Brom players stitch up Ridgewell in best way they know how

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UPDATED:

14:19 GMT, 3 December 2012

With toilet roll pouring down from cupboards and a 20 note stuck to the wall, it could only be one player's locker which has been trashed and photographed for posterity on Twitter: Liam Ridgewell.

The West Bromwich defender has been remorseful after the embarrassing picture emerged of him wiping his backside with a wad of 20s.

But it would seem his team-mates have seized upon this as a perfect opportunity to wind-up one of their fellow players.

Bad taste: Ridgewell landed himself in trouble after this picture was leaked

Bad taste: Ridgewell landed himself in trouble after this picture was leaked

The former Aston Villa and Birmingham defender was forced to apologise after the picture was leaked at the weekend.

He claimed the shot was taken to wind up a friend after he won a bet and he never intended for it to enter the public domain.

Ridgewell told The Sun: 'The photo was taken in the privacy of my home around eight months ago as a joke to wind up a mate, who I had just won a personal bet with.

'I only intended him to see the photo but now it’s public, I can understand how it will be viewed. I am sorry for any offence it causes.'

The picture caused anger as Ridgwell earns in a week what the denizens of the West Midlands earn – on average – in a year.

The club distanced themselves from the issue saying it was a private matter.

'This is a private issue for Liam that has become public', a Baggies statement said.

'It does not put the club in a good light and we will deal with the matter internally. Since Liam joined us 11 months ago, his conduct on club duty has been exemplary.'

Wind-up: Ridgewell's locker draped with toilet rolls and a 20 note

Wind-up: Ridgewell's locker draped with toilet rolls and a 20 note

Liam Ridgewell pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

Ridgewell's bum note: West Brom star apologises after being pictured wiping his backside with pile of 20 notes

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UPDATED:

10:09 GMT, 2 December 2012

West Brom defender Liam Ridgewell has apologised after an embarrassing picture emerged of him wiping his backside with a wad of 20 notes.

The former Aston Villa and Birmingham defender claims the picture was taken to wind up a friend after he won a bet and he never intended on it becoming public.

Ridgewell told The Sun: 'The photo was taken in the privacy of my home around eight months ago as a joke to wind up a mate, who I had just won a personal bet with.

Blunder: Liam Ridgewell was pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

Blunder: Liam Ridgewell was pictured wiping his backside with 20 notes

'I only intended him to see the photo but now it’s public, I can understand how it will be viewed. I am sorry for any offence it causes.'

The picture showed the 28-year-old squatting over a toilet with nearly 1000 worth of 20 notes scattered over the floor.

Apology: Ridgewell has said sorry for any offense caused

Apology: Ridgewell has said sorry for any offense caused

The West Brom player earns around
20,000-a-week and the picture is sure to anger fans – especially as
that is the average annual salary in the West Midlands – one of the most
deprived areas in the country.

The picture was sent to the newspaper by a fan who asked not to be named, he said: 'The people of West Bromwich earn a fraction of what this idiot earns yet he makes a mockery of his good fortune like this. It makes me sick.

'We’ve always thought footballers were arrogant, overpaid buffoons and this just proves it.’

The club distanced themselves from the issue saying it was a private matter.

They told The Sun: ‘This is a private issue for Liam that has become public.

'It does not put the club in a good light and we will deal with the matter internally.

'Since Liam joined us 11 months ago, his conduct on club duty has been exemplary.'

Swansea 3West Brom 1 match report: Michu and Wayne Routledge score for Swans

Swansea 3 West Brom 1: What a Liberty! It's a Routledge rout as Baggies bubble bursts

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UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 28 November 2012

It's a touch premature to say West Brom’s wheels have come off, but they certainly looked a little rickety.

Three goals down and counting their blessings after 40 minutes, they were served a cold reality check on a cold night that the Barclays Premier League is not so easy after all.

They were third in the table coming in, a quite phenomenal feat for this club in this division, and one reflected by the stats that showed their haul of 26 points from 13 games was their best start to a top-flight season since 1953.

All white on the night: Swansea are unbeaten in their last five games and moved up to eighth in the table

All white on the night: Swansea are unbeaten in their last five games and moved up to eighth in the table

Match facts

Swansea: Tremmel, Rangel, Williams, Chico, Davies, Britton, Hernandez (De Guzman 74), Ki, Dyer (Moore 64), Routledge, Michu (Agustien 86). Subs not used: Cornell, Monk, Shechter, Tiendalli.

Goals: Michu 9, Routledge 11, 39.

West Brom: Myhill, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Jones, Yacob, Morrison, Mulumbu, Brunt, Odemwingie, Lukaku. Subs not used: Daniels, Popov, Rosenberg, Long, Dorrans, Tamas, Fortune.

Booked: McAuley, Brunt, Olsson, Jones.

Goal: Lukaku 45.

Referee: Lee Mason.

Attendance: 20,377.

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But, courtesy of Michu and Wayne
Routledge, it all went so horribly wrong for But, courtesy of Michu and
Wayne Routledge, it all went so horribly wrong for Steve Clarke.

Youssouf Mulumbu, who missed the 4-2
win at Sunderland with a hamstring strain, was recalled to fill one of
the defensive midfield slots, with Claudio Yacob next to him in Steve
Clarke’s 4-2-3-1 system.
If the plan was to stifle Swansea’s possession in attacking positions,
it didn’t work. If the idea was to cut off the supply of passes out to
the flanks, it failed spectacularly.

Swansea were 3-1 up at half-time and
all three of their goals came from attacks that started in midfield,
found their way out to the left and were finished from close range.

West Brom right back Billy Jones had one of those nights that scar. His ordeal started after just 90 seconds.

Michu, as has so often been the case,
was at the centre of the move that nearly gave Swansea a perfect start.

The Spaniard found it too easy to escape Jones’s marking and was
allowed to collect a neat chip from Pablo Hernandez on the left before
forcing a good save from Boaz Myhill at his near post.

Here we go again: Michu hit the opening goal to put West Brom on the back foot

Here we go again: Michu hit the opening goal to put West Brom on the back foot

A handful: Michu evades James Morrison's attentions

A handful: Michu evades James Morrison's attentions

His wait for an eighth Premier League goal was a further seven minutes.

Again, record signing Hernandez was
involved, underlining his recent improvement with a delicate volley
across the six-yard box after Dyer’s floated cross to the far post.
Michu was waiting to bury the pass.

Flying high: Wayne Routledge fires his first of the evening past Boaz Myhill

Flying high: Wayne Routledge fires his first of the evening past Boaz Myhill

A spring in the step: Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer celebrate Swansea's second

A spring in the step: Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer celebrate Swansea's second

A second goal followed three minutes
later when Hernandez swapped passes with Ben Davies and danced into the
area from the left before teeing up Routledge for a tap-in.

West Brom were the first team to
concede a Premier League goal to Swansea last season on a September
afternoon in which they ultimately lost 3-0.

Double trouble: Routledge hit two in Swansea's rout

Double trouble: Routledge hit two in Swansea's rout

They seemed determined to
repeat the feat here, going three down after 39 minutes. Hernandez and
Davies were again involved down the left before the latter squared for
Routledge to score his second.

That he was unmarked from six yards
did not appear to go down too well with Clarke, and Myhill won’t be
pleased with his attempt to save, either.

Scant consolation: Romelu Lukaku fires West Brom's only goal of the game

Scant consolation: Romelu Lukaku fires West Brom's only goal of the game

Romelu Lukaku pulled a goal back with
a volley from a poorly-cleared corner, but it was telling that the shot
was West Brom’s first on target.

Clarke looked somewhat agitated
coming off at half-time and the intensity of West Brom’s play early in
the second half hinted at an interesting team talk.

Mixed emotions: Laudrup

Mixed emotions: Clarke

Mixed emotions: Michael Laudrup's Swansea gave Steve Clarke plenty of food for thought

Committed: Jonas Olsson does his best to block Luke Moore's shot

Committed: Jonas Olsson does his best to block Luke Moore's shot

Lukaku went close to scoring a second
when he shrugged off Chico Flores and fired over after 46 minutes and
Chris Brunt connected almost too well when he took aim from 30 yards a
moment later.

But the revival, much like West Brom’s intensity, only came in a short burst.

Steve Clarke pragmatic after West Brom"s best start in 59 years

Clarke remains pragmatic after Baggies best start in 59 years

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UPDATED:

17:57 GMT, 24 November 2012

West Brom boss Steve Clarke was keeping his feet firmly on the ground despite seeing his side climb into third place in the Barclays Premier League table.

A 4-2 victory at Sunderland clinched a fourth successive Premier League win for the first time in the club's history and saw the Baggies leapfrog Chelsea as a result of the best start to a season in 59 years.

Clanger: Simon Mignolet's blunder gifted a grateful Shane Long the second

Clanger: Simon Mignolet's blunder gifted a grateful Shane Long the second

On the money: Shane Long punished a woeful error from Simon Mignolet

Match facts

Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, O'Shea (McClean 46), Cuellar, Rose, Larsson, Cattermole (Gardner 33), Colback (Saha 73), Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs not used: Westwood, Campbell, Kilgallon, Vaughan.

Goals: Gardner 73, Sessegnon 87

Booked: O'Shea, Gardner

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell, Odemwingie (Fortune 69), Yacob, Morrison (Tamas 90), Brunt, Gera, Long (Lukaku 69). Subs not used: Luke Daniels, Popov, Rosenberg, Dorrans.

Goals: Gera 30, Long 43, Lukaku 81, Fortune 90+4

Booked: Long, Morrison, Ridgewell

Referee: Mike Dean.

Attendance: 36,390.

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However, asked if they could
replicate what former club Newcastle did last season and mount a
sustained assault on the big guns, Clarke insisted he was looking only
as far ahead as Wednesday night's trip to Swansea.

He said: 'I don't know. I don't know is the honest answer.

'All I know is up until now, we have
done very well. We have had a lot of plaudits and the players deserve it
because so far, we have been a really good team.

'But you don't get carried away in
the Premier League. We are still this side of Christmas, there are a lot
of games to be played, a lot of points to be fought for.

'Our focus is on Wednesday night, that's as far ahead as we look.'

West Brom reached the break in complete control but without having out-played their hosts.

They took the lead on the half-hour
courtesy of a fine finish by Zoltan Gera, who took full advantage of
Adam Johnson's failure to cut out Gareth McAuley's long ball to turn and
smash a left-foot shot past Simon Mignolet.

Sunderland's fortunes took a further
turn for the worse two minutes before the break when Mignolet fumbled
Chris Brunt's harmless through-ball to hand Shane Long a second goal on a
plate.

Don't look back: Zoltan Gera lets fly to give Steve Clarke's side the advantage

Don't look back: Zoltan Gera lets fly to give Steve Clarke's side the advantage

On the rise: Albion are up to third in the Premier League table

On the rise: Albion are up to third in the Premier League table

The Baggies looked to be cruising to
victory until Craig Gardner's 73rd-minute free-kick clipped fellow
substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune in the defensive wall and flew past
keeper Boaz Myhill, which prompted a late flurry.

Substitute Romelu Lukaku confidently
converted a controversially-awarded 81st-minute spot-kick after Johnson
was harshly penalised for a challenge on Liam Ridgewell, and although
Stephane Sessegnon pulled a goal back with three minutes remaining,
Fortune cemented victory in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Back in the game: Craig Gardner gave Sunderland hope of a result

Back in the game: Craig Gardner made it 2-1, putting Sunderland on the front foot

Back in the game: Craig Gardner gave Sunderland hope of a result

Clarke could hardly have enjoyed a better start to his managerial career, but again, was refusing to be carried away.

He said: 'I don't dream too much,
I'm a realist. I knew the squad of players I was taking over was a good
squad, I knew it was a squad comfortable in the Premier League.

Spot on: Substitute Romelu Lukaku made no mistake from 12 yards to make it 3-1

Spot on: Substitute Romelu Lukaku made no mistake from 12 yards to make it 3-1

Spot on: Substitute Romelu Lukaku made no mistake from 12 yards to make it 3-1

'They had finished mid-table and
mid-table with 47 points both seasons. We knew we had added some good
players to the squad, and we were hopeful that we could have a good
season. “So far, we have done okay.'

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill, whose
side have now won just two of their last 20 league games, was able to
take some positives.

Goal rush: Stephane Sessegnon gives Sunderland hope of a result (above) but Marc-Antoine Fortune sealed the points for West Brom

Goal rush: Stephane Sessegnon gives Sunderland hope of a result (above) but Marc-Antoine Fortune sealed the points for West Brom

Goal rush: Stephane Sessegnon gives Sunderland hope of a result (above) but Marc-Antoine Fortune sealed the points for West Brom

However, injuries to John O'Shea and
Lee Cattermole – the defender has a calf strain and is likely to be out
of action for several weeks, while the midfielder aggravated a knee
problem – left the Northern Irishman with fresh problems ahead of
Tuesday night's home clash with QPR.

He said: 'I think there's a lot to
take out of the match, a lot to take out of it. We have been beaten, but
we look as if we can maybe get a goal again now, which is very
encouraging.

'We have a big game on Tuesday night and we will try to get ourselves prepared for that.'

Arms race: Martin O'Neill (right) and Steve Clarke

Arms race: Martin O'Neill (right) and Steve Clarke

O'Neill was quick to leap to Mignolet's defence after his rare error strengthened West Brom's grip on the game.

He said: 'Simon has been fantastic for us, absolutely fantastic. He is entitled to something like that now and again.

'It's absolutely and utterly out of character. It just slipped out. He has been terrific for us.'

West Brom 2 Chelsea 1: Baggies march into Champions League places to give Di Matteo the Blues

West Brom 2 Chelsea 1: Baggies march into Champions League places to give Di Matteo the Blues

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UPDATED:

17:30 GMT, 17 November 2012

West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie made it a miserable return to the Hawthorns for Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo with a second-half winner to stun the Champions League holders.

The Nigerian international headed home a cross from Shane Long whose opening goal had been cancelled out by Eden Hazard.

Baggy boys: West Brom players celebrate Peter Odemwingie's winner

Baggy boys: West Brom players celebrate Peter Odemwingie's winner

Match facts

West Brom: Myhill, Jones, Olsson, Tamas, Ridgewell, Morrison (Dorrans 70), Yacob, Mulumbu, Gera (Brunt 70), Long (Rosenberg 80), Odemwingie. Subs Not Used: Luke Daniels, Reid, Popov, Fortune.

Scorers: Long 10,Odemwingie 50.

Chelsea: Cech, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Bertrand, Romeu (Oscar 62), Mikel (Ramires 80), Hazard, Sturridge,Torres (Mata 62), Moses. Subs Not Used: Turnbull, Ivanovic, Cole, Marin.

Scorer: Hazard 39.

Att: 25,933

Ref: Michael Oliver (Northumberland).

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It condemned Di Matteo, who spent two years as Albion boss, and his side to a first away Barclays Premier League defeat of the campaign.

But his former club, managed by ex-Chelsea number two Steve Clarke, are dreaming of Europe after registering a sixth win in seven home games.

The Blues dominated for long periods territorially with Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge causing problems.

But they found keeper Boaz Myhill, who was deputising for the injured Ben Foster, in inspired form with several crucial saves.

Chelsea clearly missed the physical presence at the back of injured skipper John Terry who will be side-lined for three weeks with a knee injury.

Long and Odemwingie fully capitalised on the absence of the former England defender as they punished some slack defending.

Long appeared on a one-man mission to honour his grandmother, who died yesterday, with another superb performance.

On target: Shane Long opens the scoring for West Brom

Bright start: Shane Long scores the opener for West Brom

Bright start: Shane Long scores the opener for West Brom

The Republic of Ireland international revealed a T-shirt which said 'RIP Nan' after scoring the opening goal.

Chelsea dominated possession in the early stages and Ryan Bertrand came close to putting them ahead after eight minutes.

Hazard warning: Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates his goal

Hazard warning: Chelsea's Eden Hazard celebrates his goal

Moses made a powerful run to the byline and squared the ball back across the danger area to Bertrand whose low left-footed drive was cleared off the line by Liam Ridgewell.

But 60 seconds later the Baggies took the lead via their first worthwhile attack. Zoltan Gera played the ball back to James Morrison whose floated cross picked out Long who got in behind David Luiz to head home from close range.

Level pegging: Eden Hazard scores Chelsea's equaliser

Level pegging: Eden Hazard scores Chelsea's equaliser

It was the Republic of Ireland international's sixth goal of the campaign.

Chelsea tried to retaliate and John Obi Mikel's low 30-yard drive was only just off target with Myhill scrambling across his line.

Poor run: Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo

Poor run: Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo

Myhill then got his body behind a swerving first time attempt from Sturridge.

Albion were at their most threatening on the counter-attack and Long, under pressure from Gary Cahill, had a shot saved by Petr Cech after attacking a cross from Billy Jones.

Long game: Shane Long celebrates his opener for West Brom

Long game: Shane Long celebrates his opener for West Brom

Long was then just off target with a curling drive after he had shaken off the challenge of Cahill. But after 38 minutes Hazard levelled for the Blues with his fourth goal of the season.

He attacked Cesar Azpilicueta's deep cross and was able to squeeze the ball past Myhill at the far post with a powerful header.

Chelsea continued to dominate possession and Moses fired over after being teed up by Cahill.

Heading up the table: Peter Odemwingie celebrates his winner for West Brom

Heading up the table: Peter Odemwingie celebrates his winner for West Brom

But Odemwingie restored Albion's lead five minutes into the second half.

This time Long was the creator with a cross to the near post and the Nigerian international got in front of Bertrand to glance his header past Cech for his fourth goal of the campaign.

Di Matteo made a double change with the ineffective Fernando Torres and Oriol Romeu making way for Juan Mata and Oscar respectively.

Frustrated: Daniel Sturridge reacts after missing a chance for Chelsea

Frustrated: Daniel Sturridge reacts after missing a chance for Chelsea

Myhill made a fine save to turn aside Sturridge's close range flick after Mata's ball had opened up the West Brom defence.

He then went down to cling on to Hazard's deflected shot as Chelsea delivered wave after wave of attacks.

Sturridge should have made it 2-2 with three minutes left but screwed his shot across the face of goal.

Wigan 1 West Brom 2: Match report

Wigan 1 West Brom 2: Morrison's happy return as Baggies trouser first away win

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 10 November 2012

James Morrison came back from injury to set up West Brom's first away win of the Barclays Premier League season as his powerful header helped the visitors sink Wigan at the DW Stadium.

Scotland midfielder Morrison was forced to miss the Baggies' win over Southampton on Monday night, due to a hamstring problem, but he returned to help inspire Steve Clarke's men to three points which keeps them firmly rooted in the league's top six.

Cheers: West Brom's James Morrison celebrates the opener

Cheers: West Brom's James Morrison celebrates the opener

MATCH FACTS

WIGAN: Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell (Stam 63), Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, Watson (Gomez 84), Beausejour, Kone, Di Santo (Boselli 84), Maloney. Subs not used: Pollitt, Jones McManman, Fyvie.

Goals: Kone 44

Booked: McCarthy

WEST BROM: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob, Lukaku (Rosenberg 85), Morrison (Gera 67), Brunt, Long (Odemwingie 67). Subs not used: Daniels, Popov, Dorrans, Tamas

Goals: Morrison, Caldwell (og, 43)

Booked: Yacob, Lukaku, Jones, Gera

Referee: N Swarbrick

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Morrison met a cross from Chris Brunt
to head an unstoppable opener past Ali Al Habsi, before a Gary Caldwell
own goal put the Baggies in command.

Arouna Kone reduced the deficit and the Latics piled on the pressure but could not claim a point.

The visitors started with Peter
Odemwingie on the bench despite his two-goal haul against Southampton,
but his replacement Romelu Lukaku quickly made his presence felt with a
surging forward run.

Maynor Figueroa drilled a low
long-range shot just wide for the home side in the fifth minute and
James McCarthy's persistence also fashioned an early chance after he
robbed Claudio Yacob and pressed forward.

And it took Baggies goalkeeper Boaz
Myhill – in for his first senior Baggies game in 21 months due to injury
to Ben Foster – nine minutes to prove worthy of his call-up as he
pulled off a superb save to deny Ben Watson.

The visitors slowly began to find
their rhythm, with the alert Al Habsi racing from his goal to deny
Lukaku, as the home side, who continued to shade possession in an open
game, were too often let down by a stray final ball.

Heading home: Morrison (centre) climbs to nod West Brom in front

Heading home: Morrison (centre) climbs to nod West Brom in front

More scrappy play from the hosts
almost cost them dear after 26 minutes when indecision in defence forced
Al Habsi to once again come out and save from Morrison then dive on the
loose ball as Lukaku waited to pounce.

But there was nothing scrappy about
the opener on the half-hour as Brunt flung in a precise cross from wide
on the left and Morrison aimed his magnificent header past Al Habsi from
the edge of the six-yard box.

Heads we win: Morrison leaves Ali Al Habsi with no chance

Heads we win: Morrison leaves Ali Al Habsi with no chance

And the visitors almost increased
their lead seven minutes later when Billy Jones cut in from the right
and unleashed a fierce left-footed drive which flashed just wide of the
busy Al Habsi's left-hand post.

That seemingly inevitable second
goal duly arrived after 43 minutes when Jones' effort from a tight angle
was deflected into his own net by Wigan captain Caldwell – but less
than a minute later Kone pulled one back when he poked home Beausejour's
cross.

Catch me if you can: Wigan's James McCarhty closes on Romelu Lukaku (left)

Catch me if you can: Wigan's James McCarhty closes on Romelu Lukaku (left)

Beausejour had the first chance of
the second half when he hit a shot from the left side of the box high
over Myhill's bar after the goalkeeper had parried from Watson, then
Caldwell headed just wide as the home side enjoyed a significant spell
of pressure.

The Baggies should have extended
their lead in the 56th minute when Lukaku lashed a shot on the turn
which was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Al Habsi at point-blank
range.

Remembering the fallen: Roberto Martinez (right) and West Brom's Steve Clarke sport their poppies

Remembering the fallen: Roberto Martinez (right) and West Brom's Steve Clarke sport their poppies

Shaun Maloney should have done better
for Wigan when he was teed up by a pass from Franco Di Santo in the
middle of the box in the 72nd minute, but blazed his shot well over the
bar.

Not this time: Romelu Lukaku (left) is thwarted by Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi

Not this time: Romelu Lukaku (left) is thwarted by Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi

Then a chance for Di Santo came to
nothing in the 80th minute when he got his head on a Beausejour cross
from the left but could only direct the ball against team-mate Kone,
from whom it deflected onto the roof of the net.

Jones brings groans: Billy Jones celebrates after his cross was turned in for the winner

Jones brings groans: Billy Jones celebrates after his cross was turned in for the winner

Last laugh: Lukaku celebrates after Gary Caldwell turned a cross into his own net

Last laugh: Lukaku celebrates after Gary Caldwell turned a cross into his own net

West Bromwich Albion manager Steve Clarke defends decision to drop Shane Long

Clarke defends decision to leave Long on bench as Lukaku lifts Baggies

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UPDATED:

18:06 GMT, 22 September 2012

Steve Clarke defended his decision to drop West Brom's leading scorer Shane Long after seeing his replacement, Romelu Lukaku, score the winner in the 1-0 home success over Reading.

Clarke left out out Long against his former club but he came off the bench to tee up the second half winner for on loan Chelsea striker Lukaku.

Going close: West Brom's Romelu Lukaku (right) and Reading's Alex Pearce (left) battle for the ball

Going close: West Brom's Romelu Lukaku (right) and Reading's Alex Pearce (left) battle for the ball

Match facts

WEST BROM: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Morrison (Long 64), Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Gera (Dorrans 69), LukaKu (Rosenberg 77). Unused subs: Myhill, Jara, Dawson, Fortune.

Goals: Lukaku 71

Booked: Yacob

READING: McCarthy, Gunter (Robson-Kanu 79), Gorkss, Pearce, Shorey, McCleary, Gurthrie, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Pogrebnyak (Hunt 68), Le Fondre. Unused subs: Taylor, Karacan, Church, Cummings.

Referee: C. Foy

Att: 23,854

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Victory lifted Baggies into third spot in the Barclays Premier League with 10 points from their opening five games.

Clarke said: 'Shane has been terrific for me this season and it was a difficult decision to leave him out.

'I just thought Lukaku had been very patient waiting for his chance from the bench.

'I also felt I was always asking
Shane to do the horrible shift which is the first hour, where he runs
and chases and defenders are still fresh.

'I thought it would benefit Shane to go on as the fresh player for a change and thankfully for me and the team, it worked.'

Lukaku had also scored as a
substitute in the 3-0 win over Liverpool and Clarke is aware he could
return to Stamford Bridge in January if he maintains his fine form.

He said: 'Lukaku is here on a season-long loan but I would imagine there is a recall clause in the agreement.

Frustration: Mikele Leigertwood fires in a shot under pressure from Claudio Yacob

So close: Romelu Lukaku bemoans his luck

Frustration: Reading's Mikele Leigertwood fires in a shot under pressure from Claudio Yacob (left) while Romelu Lukaku bemoans his luck (right)

'Any Premier League team who does a season-long loan usually has a January release clause.

'There's no point in worrying about
things I can't affect. I'm just looking for Romelu to continue the fine
form he's shown for us and score a few more goals.

'If he scores 20 goals by Christmas and and Chelsea want him back there's nothing I can do about it.

Point made: Ben Foster barks out the orders to his West Brom teammates

Point made: Ben Foster barks out the orders to his West Brom teammates

'He had a number of clubs he could have gone to, we're just thankful he's come here to the Albion.'

Clarke has played down Albion's flying start to the campaign.

He said: 'Third in the table doesn't mean anything. Our aspirations are the same.

'The only aspiration I have at this
time is getting another team together for Wednesday night (against
Liverpool) in the Capital Cup, which we look forward to.

On the chase: Jonas Olsson (right) holds off Pavel Pogrebnyak

On the chase: Jonas Olsson (right) holds off Pavel Pogrebnyak

'We also have another difficult league game to look forward to next week against Aston Villa. We go from game to game.

'For now the primary objective for 75% of the Premier League is to get to the margin of points to keep you safe.'

Arms race: Youssouf Mulumbu tries to hold off Reading's Danny Guthrie

Arms race: Youssouf Mulumbu tries to hold off Reading's Danny Guthrie

Reading are still searching for their first league win and Royals boss Brian McDermott stressed the need for unity.

He said: 'It was frustrating. We
spoke at half-time and said whatever happens keep a clean sheet and the
goal was disappointing from our point of view.

Take that: Romelu Lukaku fires the winner for West Brom

Take that: Romelu Lukaku fires the winner for West Brom

Buoyant baggies: Romelu Lukaku celebrates his goal

Buoyant baggies: Romelu Lukaku celebrates his goal

'You never want to be bottom of any league. All we can do is stick together and we've done that.

'We have to make sure everyone is right for the next game and that's what I'm confident will happen.

'This is an unforgiving league. We know that. It is fantastic to play in and we want to be part of that.

'We were bottom of the Championship at one stage last season and ended up winning it.

'We did exactly what we did now, we have to stick together.'

Hold on: Youssouf Mulumbu tangles with with Danny Guthrie

Nice tough: Jonas Olsson controls the ball

Hold on: Youssouf Mulumbu tangles with with Danny Guthrie (left) and Jonas Olsson (right) controls the ball

Fulham boss Martin Jol hails Dimitar Berbatov

Dimit he do well Jol hails Berbatov: He did more than he's ever done

|

UPDATED:

17:42 GMT, 15 September 2012

Fulham boss Martin Jol sang the praises of Dimitar Berbatov following his starring role in the 3-0 victory over West Brom and is hopeful he can fill the goalscoring void left by the departure of Clint Dempsey.

Berbatov struck a brace on his home debut as Jol's side eased to a comfortable victory over a Baggies team reduced to 10 men in the first half when Peter Odemwingie was sent off for kicking Sascha Riether.

Tucked away: Dimitar Berbatov struck his second goal from the spot

Tucked away: Dimitar Berbatov struck his second goal from the spot

Match facts

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Duff (Smith 90), Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic (Kasami 84), Berbatov, Rodallega. Subs not used: Stockdale, Kelly, Karagounis, Briggs, Trotta.

Scorers: Berbatov 32, 45, Sidwell 89.

West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob (Rosenberg 76), Odemwingie, Morrison, Fortune (Lukaku 46), Long (Brunt 46). Subs not used: Myhill, Dorrans, Gera, Dawson.

Sent off: Odemwingie.

Referee: Roger East.

Attendance: 25,691.

The first goal saw the 31-year-old
take control of the ball and bend it inside Ben Foster's post, with the
second coming from a penalty at the end of the first half.

Steve Sidwell added the third in the
89th minute to hand Fulham their second win of the season. As well as
opening his goalscoring account for Fulham, Berbatov also contributed
from a defensive point of view and Jol was happy with his all-round
performance.

'I think he did more than he has ever
done before in his life,' the Dutchman said. 'He was at the back, he
was in midfield, he was up-front and he scored a good goal so I was
happy.

'We had a young bench and that is why I was so pleased with Dimitar.'

After losing top goalscorer Dempsey
to Tottenham in the final hours of the transfer window, Jol is now
hoping former Manchester United frontman Berbatov can become the club's
new talisman.

Easy: Berbatov sent the keeper the wrong way

Easy: Berbatov sent the keeper the wrong way

'That is a challenge for him,' he said. 'I think he scored 23 goals when I had him at Spurs.

'I'm sure that if he is fit then he will do what Clint Dempsey did for us.'

With Dempsey and Mousa Dembele now
both plying their trade at White Hart Lane and Bryan Ruiz, Kieran
Richardson and Mahamadou Diarra all missing through injury, Jol had to
name an unfamiliar midfield four.

Dimit he do well: Martin Jol had high praise for Dimitar Berbatov after his starring role against West Brom

Dimit he do well: Martin Jol had high praise for Dimitar Berbatov after his starring role against West Brom

But Jol was full of praise for the
players who came into his starting line-up and knows they have to
maintain a high level of performance to make up for the players who left
over the course of the summer.

He said: 'It was important because
we lost our best players and our top goalscorer from the last couple of
seasons, so we had to do something and create a new identity in
midfield.

Exquisite: Berbatov curls home his first

Exquisite: Berbatov curls home his first

'My whole midfield was new, my front-line was new, (we played) a different system.

'I still feel we have to work hard to
get the same quality as we had last year with Danny Murphy and Dembele.
It was one of the best midfields in England.

'I was really pleased they stepped up
a gear to satisfy us. We lost five midfield players and no-one came in
so I was very pleased with Bairdy (Chris Baird) and (Steve) Sidwell.'

West Brom head coach Steve Clarke
tasted his first league defeat in charge of the Baggies and bemoaned
their start to the game as the main reason behind the loss.

He said: 'I was disappointed with the
way we started the game. I thought we allowed Fulham to get too much
control in the game, we started slowly and suffered for that because we
lost a goal.

On song: The brilliant Bulgarian was near his effervescent best

On song: The brilliant Bulgarian was near his effervescent best

'The biggest disappointment in the first half was losing the second goal right on half-time.'

Clarke refused to use the dismissal
of Odemwingie as an excuse and was more content with how his side
performed after half-time.

'We are all human, everybody has got
emotions,' he said. 'He thought he had a free-kick against him, the red
mist obviously came down and he will take his punishment.

'He will get his three-game ban and
the club have got a disciplinary process we will go through, and we move
on. In football it happens, people get sent off.

Untouchable: West Brom could not contain Berbatov

Untouchable: West Brom could not contain Berbatov

Get out: Peter Odemwingie was sent off for violent conduct

Get out: Peter Odemwingie was sent off for violent conduct

'I was happier with the second-half
performance. I think we approached the game well second half and we
tried to cause a few problems which I think we succeeded in.

'We spoke at half-time and said if we
could make it 2-1 we could make it an uncomfortable afternoon for
Fulham, but it didn't work out like that.'

Clarke's 10 men held Fulham at bay
until Sidwell scored in the closing stages but it was goalkeeper Foster
who pulled off a string of superb saves to keep the scoreline
respectable.

Red card

Dismissal

Foolish: Odemwingie will regret his actions

The former England goalkeeper
completed a permanent move to the Hawthorns over the summer and Clarke
was pleased with the 29-year-old's performance.

He said: 'He made some good saves but you know when you are down to 10 men that the opposition will have chances against you.

'We spent a lot of time in the summer chasing Ben Foster because we know he is capable of making those types of saves.

'We know he is a top goalkeeper and we paid good money for him. Performances like that are what we expect from Ben Foster.'

Wrap up: Steve Sidwell (left) scored the third

Wrap up: Steve Sidwell (left) scored the third

Raring to go: It was a good afternoon for Fulham

Raring to go: It was a good afternoon for Fulham