thumbnail Hello,

Premier League

  • 26 April 2014
  • • 15:00
  • • The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 26541

West Brom 1-0 West Ham: Berahino boosts survival hopes

West Brom 1-0 West Ham: Berahino boosts survival hopes

Getty Images

The youngster scored the only goal at the Hawthorns as Pepe Mel's side edged closer to Premier League survival, while Sam Allardyce's men extended their winless run in April

A Saido Berahino goal gave West Brom a 1-0 victory over West Ham at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Pepe Mel's men headed into the game knowing a win would ease any lingering fears of relegation, and Berahino's goal proved the winner in a tight clash with Sam Allardyce's men.

By Jay Jaffa

On paper this was a must-win game for West Brom, who were still perilously close to the relegation zone pre-kick off. Come the final whistle though, Pepe Mel had his first home win in charge of the Baggies and will be pleased with his side's performance.

This was a tale of some sturdy defending, fortuitous moments and getting the rub of the green but no-one can take away the excellent goal that won the game for the hosts. Stephane Sessegnon - in the sort of mood that makes him a terror to play against - more or less created Saido Berahino's goal with a brilliant counterattacking run. The Benin international was a menace throughout and dovetailed impressively with young Berahino.

The Baggies rode their luck at times - Andy Carroll's powerful header slamming against the bar chief among them - but beyond that Ben Foster's clean sheet rarely looked in danger. Three points and their first home win in eight games should mean Mel has guided the Albion to safety.

Head coach Mel opted to hand Berahino a first start in attack since February and was rewarded when the England Under-21 international struck in the 11th minute, settling Albion's early nerves.

Andy Carroll went close for West Ham either side of the early strike and almost made West Brom pay for missed chances after the interval when he rattled the crossbar from a 71st-minute corner.

However, the hosts held on to pick up a valuable three points and move five clear of the relegation zone.

West Ham are a point better off and all but safe despite a fourth consecutive loss.

Carroll kept the ball alive well from a sixth-minute corner to draw a sharp near-post save from Ben Foster and Jonas Olsson followed his goalkeeper's heroics by producing a last-ditch challenge to deny the West Ham centre-forward.

It was a start in keeping with the sloppy opening that saw West Brom 2-0 down after 10 minutes at Manchester City in midweek, but they then stunned West Ham with a goal from their first attack.

Stephane Sessegnon drove forward to release Morgan Amalfitano into the area and he drilled across goal for Berahino to apply the finish.

The impact on West Brom's overall performance was initially negligible and Foster had to be at his best once more to deny Carroll, who got across Steven Reid to head Mohamed Diame's inviting cross goalwards.

Reid's fellow full-back Billy Jones was inches away from doubling the hosts' advantage with a flying header from Amalfitano's whipped 25th-minute delivery.

Foster then beat away a rasping 30th-minute shot from Guy Demel and West Brom broke, Sessegnon leading the charge before Graham Dorrans dragged wide left-footed.

Both teams lost a defender apiece to injury before half-time as James Tomkins and Reid departed, while the frenetic pace showed no sign of letting up.

Sessegnon continued to be influential and blasted over having twisted and turned past Mark Noble seven minutes after the restart.

West Ham goalkeeper Adrian was then down sharply to keep a Jones strike out at his near post and Dorrans, searching for the composure that helped him net spectacularly at the Etihad Stadium on Monday, was off target again in the 56th minute.

Immediately after Berahino's touch had deserted him in the 62nd minute, Sessegnon teed up his fellow forward to fire straight at Adrian from close range and pass up a glorious opportunity.

Berahino's predatory instincts were then lacking as he failed to turn home Youssuf Mulumbu's speculative effort.

Carroll almost made him pay when he was inexplicably left alone to strike the bar from Matt Jarvis' delivery, while Sessegnon scuffed a 75th-minute volley and Adrian denied him the goal his efforts deserved.

Instead, it was Berahino, very much the villain when his error enabled fellow strugglers Cardiff City to leave The Hawthorns with a 3-3 draw last month, who was the hero for West Brom.