Fortune strikes for Baggies
Marc-Antoine Fortune claimed a debut goal for West Brom, who picked up a huge three points as they beat Boro 3-0.
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 17/01/09 7:22pm
Marc-Antoine Fortune claimed a debut goal for West Brom, who picked up a huge three points as they beat Middlesbrough 3-0 at The Hawthorns.
However, whilst Fortune was literally in the Baggies' starting XI - Lady Luck was also seemingly looking down on Tony Mowbray's men as they were somewhat fortunate to claim the win.
The first goal arrived after just four minutes, but former Boro trainee Chris Brunt was clearly offside before he picked up the ball on the edge of the box and fired a deflected effort past Ross Turnbull, and Boro appeals were waved away by referee Mark Halsey.
The visitors spurned numerous opportunities, with Afonso Alves the main culprit as he wasted at least four very good chances to level.
The second goal killed Boro off just 10 minutes into the second period, and again there was a stroke of luck as Robert Koren played a one-two with Fortune and then the Slovenian's shot was deflected off the debutant and past a helpless Turnbull.
Boro's day then went from bad to worse as Didier Digard saw red for raising his studs at Borja Valero and West Brom took advantage as Koren chipped home as the home side countered with their extra man.
The win takes West Brom off the bottom of the table and gives them their first ever Premier League double.
Brunt put the Baggies in front after only four minutes, with Boro's claims for offside waved away. Tony McMahon failed to make proper contact with a clearance header from a deep cross by Carl Hoefkens and the ball broke to Brunt who fired in, via a deflection off the Boro full-back.
Boro tried to retaliate and only the woodwork denied Alves an equaliser three minutes later. Scott Carson was at full stretch in palming away a deep centre from acting Boro skipper Stewart Downing and the ball broke to Alves who headed against the crossbar.
Alves then missed a good chance after 24 minutes after David Wheater had flicked on a floated free-kick from Taylor.
The ball dropped down onto the right foot of the £12million signing but he volleyed wide.
But after 27 minutes Jay Simpson should have doubled Albion's lead. He raced clear of the Boro defence after beating the offside trap to seize onto a pass from Ryan Donk. He found himself with only Turnbull to beat but his touch was slightly heavy and the keeper was able to make a good block.
Brunt also had a good chance to grab his second goal when he got on the end of a centre from Hoefkens but glanced his header wide of the far post.
Boro were forced to make a change at the back after 36 minutes when Chris Riggott limped out of the action to be replaced by Robert Huth.
Carson came to West Brom's rescue when he beat away a powerful drive from Alves after he had cut in from the left flank while Turnbull saved a low shot from a narrow angle by Fortune with his feet.
It was Albion's turn to make an enforced defensive change when Leon Barnett made way for Pele after 39 minutes.
Simpson was continuing to look a threat for Albion and he came close to increasing their lead early in the second half.
Fortune showed good skill on the touch-line before picking out the run of Simpson deep in the Boro half. He cut inside and curled a left-footed shot from 15 yards out just wide with Turnbull well beaten.
But then after 54 minutes Albion doubled their lead through Fortune's first goal for the club - although he knew little about it. Koren was the creator with a run into the box before dinking the ball into the feet of Fortune.
He held the ball up well before turning it back to Koren and then inadvertently deflected the shot from the Slovenian international past Turnbull.
Southgate responded by taking off Gary O'Neil and replacing him with Mido and the former Tottenham player set up another great chance for Alves. Again he failed to take advantage by heading wide from six yards out.
The chances continued to come thick and fast with Turnbull denying Simpson before Boro were reduced to 10 men after 63 minutes.
Referee Mark Halsey produced an instant red card after a challenge by Digard on Valero although replays suggested it may have been a harsh decision.
After 66 minutes Koren capped an excellent individual display by scoring Albion's third goal. He made another surging forward run to seize on a pass from Brunt and coolly knocked his shot wide of Turnbull.Turnbull also made a string of good saves late on, but the game was already gone by then.
|West Bromwich Albion||Team Statistics||Middlesbrough|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||1|
|4||Shots off Target||8|