Gera fires Baggies to summit
Zoltan Gera fired West Brom back to the Championship summit with the only goal of a thrilling game against Wolves.
Last Updated: 15/04/08 10:08pm
Zoltan Gera fired West Brom back to the Championship summit with the only goal of a thrilling game against bitter local rivals Wolves at Molineux.
The talented Hungarian, who headed against the bar early in the game, side-footed home in the 59th minute after Kevin Phillips had got in behind the home defence and rolled the ball across the box for his team-mate.
Tony Mowbray's men now hold a two-point advantage over nearest challengers Hull and Stoke with just three games remaining in the tense promotion battle, while Wolves remain three points outside the play-off places.
An early deluge made the surface difficult with standing water in places, although the Baggies were first to settle with Kevin Phillips coming close on two occasions.
First a free-kick from Gera was just beyond the veteran striker, before Ishmael Miller's shot was parried by Wayne Hennessey and Phillips headed over from close range.
Wolves hit back with Michael Gray cutting in from the wing and firing in a low shot which Dean Kiely did well to gather, with Sylvain Ebanks-Blake then needing to show more composure as he got in behind the defence.
The Baggies responded with a swift break with Miller finding James Morrison, who beat his man and forced Hennessey into another good save.
And the Wolves goalkeeper then had to be alert shortly before half-time to turn away Neil Clement's goal-bound free-kick after Miller had been brought down by Neill Collins.
Phillips came within inches of scoring in the second period after a flowing move involving Jonathan Greening, Morrison and Roman Bednar ended with the striker firing a shot across goal which beat Hennessey but hit the base of the post.
But seconds later Phillips played a key role in breaking the deadlock when he got in behind the defence and squared across the box for Gera to slot home between Hennessey's legs.
Kiely was then forced to make a good save when the Baggies only half-cleared their lines and Darron Gibson drilled in a powerful shot from the edge of the area.
And the West Brom keeper again had to be alert to keep out Seyi Olofinjana's shot from edge of the box at his near post as Wolves pressed in vain for an equaliser.