Football: Baggies debagged by Forest: Strikers display their talents as Newcastle's passing game destroys weakened visitors and West Bromwich are punished for errors

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The Independent Online
West Bromwich Albion. . .0

Nottingham Forest. . . . 2

STAN COLLYMORE is a centre-forward with a lot to learn, according to his Nottingham Forest manager, Frank Clark. His two superbly taken goals that sent West Bromwich Albion into the bottom three of the First Division yesterday would seem to indicate that this is a pupil in the fast stream.

'We're still looking for a way to get the best out of him,' Clark said, before proceeding to list his apparently numerous shortcomings. But it took only five minutes at The Hawthorns for his skill to shine.

Collymore and Lars Bohinen combined down the right after a mistake by Paul Raven. Collymore shot from inside the area, Tony Lange parried and the 6ft 2in striker lofted the ball delicately over his head.

Less than 20 minutes later he displayed the combination of muscle and skill that prompted Clark to pay pounds 2.2m for him. Found by a curling pass from Kingsley Black down the left flank, he used his power to surge through, then outwitted three defenders with an extravagant side-step before gently dispatching his 14th goal this season from just outside the six-yard box.

In truth, though, the game was won and lost by tactics as much as inspiration. 'It's difficult for other front players to play with him,' Clark said of his centre-forward, 'so we decided not to have another front player.'

It worked perfectly. West Brom's flat back-five still left holes while their two-man midfield ceded control to Forest.

A bad week for the Baggies: beaten by Halifax in the FA Cup, by Fiorentina in the Anglo-Italian Cup (from the ridiculous to the sublimely ridiculous); now this.

West Bromwich Albion (5-2-3): Lange; Reid, Williams, Mardon, Raven, Strodder (Garner, h/t); Mellon, O'Regan; Taylor, Hunt, Donovan (Hunter, 71). Substitute not used: Naylor (gk)

Nottingham Forest (4-5-1): Crossley; Lyttle, Cooper, Chettle, Pearce; Stone, Gemmill, Phillips, Bohinen, Black; Collymore. Substitutes not used: Webb, Bull, Clarke (gk)

Referee: M Peck (Kendal).

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