Sunday 30 April 2017

Robson-Kanu's thunderbolt rewards Pulis gamble

Southampton 1 West Brom 2

Southampton's Dusan Tadic and West Bromwich Albion's Chris Brunt battle for the ball. Photo: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire
Southampton's Dusan Tadic and West Bromwich Albion's Chris Brunt battle for the ball. Photo: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Tony Pulis believes Hal Robson-Kanu's thunderbolt winner at Southampton justified West Brom's "big risk" in signing the Wales forward in the summer.

Robson-Kanu's stunning strike sealed West Brom's 2-1 win at St Mary's - the 27-year-old firing his first Premier League goal in more than three years.

Former Reading forward Robson-Kanu helped Wales to the Euro 2016 semi-finals in the summer, though was without a club when the season started.

West Brom stepped in at the last minute to offer the London-born striker a route back to the top flight, and he capped his first start for the Baggies with a sweetly-struck winner.

"It was always a risk, it was a big risk for us to bring him in in the summer," said Baggies boss Pulis of the player, who started at Southampton ahead of seven-goal top-scorer Salomon Rondon.

"But he's been wonderful as a back-up, because that's what he's been.

Southampton's Maya Yoshida (left) jumps for possession. Photo: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire
Southampton's Maya Yoshida (left) jumps for possession. Photo: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

"He's shown today he's kept his fitness levels well and his attitude is fabulous.

"Sometimes as a manager it drops for you and sometimes it doesn't.

"You leave yourself open for criticism if Hal hadn't scored and we'd lost the game. You toss a coin and it lands well for you, which I'm very pleased for."

Robson-Kanu hit seven Premier League goals with Reading in the 2012-13 campaign but spent the next three seasons in the Championship with the Royals.

West Bromwich Albion's Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters
West Bromwich Albion's Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates scoring their second goal. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters

Since joining West Brom, the Wales forward has made 13 substitute appearances but marked his first league start in style.

Shane Long ended his goal drought to put the Saints ahead only for Matt Phillips to drill in the equaliser, before Robson-Kanu fired the thunderous winner just after half-time.

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