Baggies secure comfortable home win against Magpies
West Brom have been known for their intricate, passing football so far this season and it didn’t take them long to get into their usual pattern of play against Newcastle. Within the first few minutes the home side’s extra man in midfield saw them maintain possession quite comfortably in the middle of the park and up to the edge of the Newcastle area, but without showing any real cutting edge.
It wasn’t until the 12th minute that West Brom managed to produce a shot at Tim Krul’s goal, when Paul Scharner turned up unmarked at the back post from a Chris Brunt corner, but his first-time volley went high over the bar.
Newcastle were showing good discipline with their back four and midfielders Danny Guthrie and Cheikh Tiote restricting the home side to long-range efforts from Brunt and Graham Dorrans.
However, the visitor's were unable gain any possession with Jonas Gutierrez picking up the first yellow card of the game for tugging back Gonzalo Jara as the defender broke away from him in the 20th minute.
It was amazing that West Brom midfielder Jerome Thomas also didn't pick up a caution just a minute later, as referee Mike Dean reprimanded him for diving but failed to produce a card.
Sol Campbell hadn’t been looking entirely comfortable in the Newcastle defence, and this was shown when his attempted clearance rebounded into the path of Peter Odemwingie who burst through on goal, but pressure from other Magpies defenders saw him put his shot wide.
The away team finally came into the game after 25 minutes when they won two corners in quick succession. The first leading to a Steven Taylor attempt on the volley that was cleared and the second met by Shola Ameobi who headed over, wasting a good chance.
Just as Newcastle were coming back into the game, West Brom struck through Somen Tchoyi. Following more delicate passing on the edge of the Newcastle box, Brunt played it into Tchoyi who moved the ball onto his left foot and, not believing his luck that he remained unchallenged, curled the ball past Krul into the far corner.
Tchoyi threatened again minutes later after a lovely move on the right flank that saw Jara slide the ball into the box for the goal-scorer. The midfielder produced a lovely turn and blasted a shot at the near post which Krul did well to block.
Danny Guthrie summed up Newcastle’s first half performance just before the break as he swung in a free-kick from the left for Andy Carroll and Ameobi to challenge. However, the ball was hopelessly over-hit and went out harmlessly for a goal-kick.
On the chase| Danny Simpson and Jerome Thomas in pursuit of the ball
Newcastle looked to address the inbalance in midfield by bringing Peter Lovenkrands on for Ameobi at half-time to play just behind Andy Carroll, and it was the away side who created the first chance of the second half. It came from a Wayne Routledge cross from the right that was seemingly destined for Carroll, however the England striker left it for Taylor behind him who subsequently forced a fantastic save from Scott Carson as he headed the ball goalwards.
Scharner again had a chance from a corner, as Brunt’s cross was completely missed by Krul, but the former Wigan man blazed his attempt over the bar.
Tchoyi was looking continuously dangerous on the right hand side, and Jose Enrique was struggling to contain him. The Spaniard resorted to tugging his opponent back in the 57th minute, earning him a yellow card.
Newcastle came as close as they had done all day through Jonas Gutierrez on 59 minutes after Sol Campbell threaded a lovely ball to the Argentine down the left. He burst into the box and got his shot off from a tight angle, which deflected off Scharner and over Carson, but Marek Cech was able to clear off the line.
Guthrie became the third Newcastle player to be booked as his wild lunge on Thomas in the 62nd minute left Mike Dean with no option but to take the midfielder's name.
The visitors were pushing for the equaliser as the game entered its final half hour and only a desperate punch from Carson kept the ball from Lovenkrands’ head, which would have surely been a goal without his intervention.
Lovenkrands was again involved minutes later as a right-sided free kick was swung in, but Campbell and the Dane seemed to get in each others way.
The visitor’s hopes were dashed on 71 minutes though, as Odemwingie doubled the Baggies' lead. Danny Guthrie slipped whilst in possession just inside his own half which the Nigerian pounced on. He still had Taylor and Campbell to contend with, and it certainly looked like a square pass was the best option. However, Odemwingie felt otherwise and managed to avoid both centre-backs’ challenges and slot the ball into the corner with his left foot.
It turned out that Guthrie hadn’t just given a goal away, but had suffered a severe-looking injury as he was stretchered off in the aftermath of the goal. Alan Smith replaced him as Nile Ranger also came on for Wayne Routledge.
Smith immediately announced his arrival with a reckless challenge on Thomas, which earned him a yellow card. Campbell also received a booking as he blocked off Giles Barnes who had just come on for Thomas.
The game was made completely safe for the Baggies in the 89th minute, as they proved they can mix their play up effectively. Cech spotted the run of Odemwingie straight through the centre of the pitch and played a long diagonal ball to the forward. The Nigerian was in behind Sol Campbell and he calmly rounded Krul and slotted home to put his side 3-0 up.
Newcastle did rescue some dignity in the dying minutes as they grabbed a consolation through Peter Lovenkrands. A cross swung in from the right was brought down by Carroll, possibly with his arm, and he should have scored himself but fired straight at Carson. However Lovenkrands was on hand to score from the rebound and register his first league goal of the season.
This wasn’t the start of a glorious come back though, as West Brom comfortably saw out the last couple of minutes and picked up a resounding win.
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