Saturday 23 September 2017

Baggies roar back to ramp up Europa bid

West Brom 3-1 Hull City

West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster celebrates his sides third goal of the match. Photo: PA
West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster celebrates his sides third goal of the match. Photo: PA

Jon Culley

West Bromwich Albion came from a goal behind to complete a second win in 48 hours and a sixth in 10 matches to strengthen what is becoming a realistic challenge for a Europa League place.

Yet manager Tony Pulis insisted that he was not looking beyond his annual quest to make his team relegation-proof.

"Forty points is the target," Pulis said. "You only have to look around. Two of our big local rivals have lost today playing in the Championship."

Pulis was perhaps being a little kind to Hull, who began brightly enough and led through Robert Snodgrass' 21st-minute goal but wound up soundly beaten by an opponent with more courage and drive.

Albion scored three times in the second half, inflicting on Mike Phelan's struggling side an eighth consecutive away defeat to make it only one win in 18 Premier League matches.

"The first 45 minutes was as good as we have played," Phelan said. "But games don't last 45 minutes and we suffered again because we didn't do the basics right at set-pieces."

West Bromwich Albion's Gareth McAuley scores his side's second goal of the game. Photo: PA
West Bromwich Albion's Gareth McAuley scores his side's second goal of the game. Photo: PA

Phelan laughed off reports linking Hull with a loan move for former Barcelona and Chelsea striker Samuel Eto'o, currently playing in Turkey, but admitted a pressing need to strengthen his squad in the transfer window.

"That's an interesting one," he said. "He would be a good one to get if he can defend at set-pieces."

Goals from Chris Brunt, Gareth McAuley and James Morrison gave Albion - in 16th place 10 matches ago - an emphatic victory.

Hull went ahead when Snodgrass slid in to convert Ahmed Elmohamady's cross for his seventh league goal of the season.

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis gives instructions on the touchline. Photo: PA
West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis gives instructions on the touchline. Photo: PA

The home side, who lost Jonny Evans to a calf injury, began the second half with renewed vigour, took a grip in midfield and drew level when Brunt headed home unmarked at a Matt Phillips corner. Phillips claimed his eighth assist of the season soon afterwards when McAuley headed in from another corner.

Albion's third came after 73 minutes when a cross from substitute Hal Robson-Kanu found Morrison, whose scuffed attempt evaded Marshall's reach.

Telegraph.co.uk

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