West Brom vs Gateshead match report: Saido Berahino eases Tony Pulis into job before the real work begins

West Brom 7 Gateshead 0: Striker scores four times along with efforts from Victor Anichebe, Chris Brunt and James Morrison

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The Independent Online

Tony Pulis was so concerned that Albion might be on the end of an FA Cup upset, he abandoned his plan to watch from the stands after only 15 minutes as Conference side Gateshead threatened to turn his first game in charge at the Hawthorns into an embarrassment.

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In the end, his new charges cast aside their struggles in the Premier League to provide him with an emphatic victory in which Saido Berahino scored a hat-trick in the space of 11 minutes before adding a fourth in stoppage time.

The England Under-21 international, whose future is in doubt both on and off the field with a court appearance on a drink driving charge looming over him, impressed his new manager with finishing of the highest quality.

Pulis says he is looking forward to working with Berahino but may equally be tempted to cash in on his market value to bolster his plans to strengthen his squad for  a potential relegation battle ahead.

 

The 21-year-old opened his account by breaking the deadlock in an ultimately one-sided tie three minutes before half time, lifting the ball into the net through a crowded goalmouth.

Victor Anichebe doubled Albion’s lead before half time, then Berahino curled in his second only 45 seconds into the second half. His second senior hat-trick was complete seven minutes later, thanks to a crisply executed first-time strike from a Chris Baird pass. The fourth was another that swerved out of the reach of the Gateshead goalkeeper, Adam Bartlett, from a narrow angle on the left.

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Victor Anichebe celebrates West Brom's second goal

Chris Brunt and James Morrison were also on target as the Conference side, who had played a confident passing game and threatened more than once to take the lead during the opening 40 minutes, were ruthlessly brushed aside.

Berahino seemed oddly subdued, barely celebrating any of his goals, although Pulis could shed no light on why. “Someone told me he didn’t celebrate but he seemed happy enough in the dressing room afterwards,” Pulis said. “It was great finishing from someone who is clearly a very talented player. I have not worked with him yet so I’ve got that to come.”

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Berahino curls home his second and West Brom's third

Pulis made his way to the technical area after 15 minutes, dressed in a suit rather than his customary tracksuit and baseball cap. “I genuinely intended to stay in the stands,” he said. “But I felt we started nervously and Gateshead to their credit played very well. It took the first goal to relax us.”

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Berahino slots home his third goal to complete his hat-trick

Indeed, Gateshead – in the third round for the first time since 1955 – might have taken the lead twice, with chances falling to centre forward Michael Rankine and the veteran former Wales international midfielder John Oster.

In the end, though, it was the result that Pulis needed after inheriting a team painfully short of confidence by the time his predecessor, Alan Irvine, was dismissed. “It is a good start, but the real work starts on Monday,” Pulis said. “We have a difficult job on our hands to stay in the Premier League and it will be a big window for us as well, because we need to strengthen the team.”

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Tranmere goalkeeper Adam Bartlett is far from happy with his defenders

Line-ups:

West Bromwich Albion (4-2-3-1): Myhill; Baird, McAuley, Dawson, Pocognoli; Brunt, Morrison; Sessègnon (Varela, 67), Berahino, Dorrans (Yacob, 54); Anichebe (Samaras, 54).

Gateshead (4-3-3): Bartlett; Baxter, Curtis, Clark, Jones; Pattison (Ramshaw, 56), Turnbull, Gjokaj (Chandler, 60); Oster, Rankine (Wright, 68), Rodman.

Referee: Andrew Madley

Man of the match: Berahino (West Bromwich)

Match rating: 6/10

PA

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