Newcastle United 0 West Brom 1: Phillips keeps Baggies hopes alive

Darren Moore's unbeaten run in charge of West Brom continued with a crucial victory against Newcastle at St. James' Park on Saturday.

West Brom kept their slim survival hopes alive as Matt Phillips scored only his second Premier League goal of the season to secure a 1-0 victory at Newcastle United.

The Baggies knew only three points on Saturday would be enough to save them from their 10th relegation from the top-flight and caretaker boss Darren Moore got exactly what he wanted, keeping his unbeaten run in charge of the Baggies intact. 

Jake Livermore combined superbly with Phillips for the game's only goal, the former floating a pass across the defence that allowed the Scotland international to smash a fine finish past on-loan home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.

Newcastle had chances to equalise, Kenedy hitting the post and Ben Foster's heroics preventing Dwight Gayle from heading home in the dying moments of the first half.

The win leaves West Brom - who beat Manchester United and drew with Liverpool in their previous two games - five points adrift of safety, with two matches still to play against Tottenham and Crystal Palace, and relegation to the second tier still looks likely.

Swansea could relegate the Baggies in Saturday's late kick-off if they manage to secure victory against Chelsea, but West Brom's significant improvement under Moore has nevertheless given them a sniff.

A slow start saw few opportunities created, although James McClean flashed an effort across the face of goal for the visitors and Gayle, who replaced Islam Slimani in attack for Newcastle, brought a routine save from Foster with a snap shot.

West Brom sparked the game into life by grabbing the opening goal after 28 minutes. Phillips latched onto a superb floated ball from Livermore to charge past Paul Dummett and smash home into the far corner of the net, giving Dubravka no chance.

The hosts almost pulled level with a slick attacking move six minutes later, as Chelsea loanee Kenedy combined with Ayoze Perez to beat the offside trap before poking against the post.

Rafael Benitez’s side came close again in the final minutes of the first half, but Gayle's header was brilliantly kept out by Foster, who clawed the ball off the line to ensure the visitors maintained their advantage.

Jay Rodriguez was presented with a golden opportunity to extend West Brom's advantage just minutes after the restart, but mis-kicked his volley, and Salomon Rondon also wasted a decent chance, smashing off target after finding space inside the box.

Benitez threw on Slimani and Jacob Murphy in an attempt to turn the game around but the Magpies struggled to find the form that had seen them win four of their previous five league games heading into the tie.

Slimani and Craig Dawson were each fortunate to escape red cards as tempers flared late on, with the West Brom man appearing to deliberately stand on the foot of the Algeria international, who responded with an aggressive kick. Neither incident was spotted by referee David Coote.

West Brom held firm to secure a valuable victory, just their second away from home against the Magpies in 16 visits, and a rare clean sheet, their first in 24 trips to St. James' Park since September 1977.

 

Key Opta Facts:

- In just four games, Darren Moore (W2 D2 L0) has won more Premier League games for West Brom than Alan Pardew (W1 D5 L12), and as many as Tony Pulis (W2 D4 L6) did this season.
- This was Rafael Benitez's first Premier League defeat against West Brom as manager (W7 D1 L1), meaning Stoke City are now the side he has faced the most without defeat in the competition (7 games).
- There were 15 shots in the second half in this game (10 for Newcastle, 5 for West Brom), but none were on target.