Ipswich Town 1 West Bromwich 5: Phillips turns screw as Mowbray presence felt

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The Independent Online

He may not have taken up his place yet in the dugout as the replacement for Bryan Robson but Tony Mowbray certainly had the same effect as virtually every other newly-installed manager this season: a win.

The man who was in charge at Hibernian until Thursday has been put in cold storage until next Wednesday but was watching from the stands here at Portman Road. Apart from the first 20 minutes, when West Bromwich were working the rust out of their system after two weeks of inactivity, he would have liked what he saw. He may also have been impressed with the way Nigel Pearson, the interim replacement for Robson, had organised the Baggies.All the signs are that this was Pearson's penultimate match in any capacity with Albion.

He has a game against Crystal Palace on Tuesday to prepare for but Mowbray is set to take over the following morning. He said, more than a touch dolefully: "I'm going to speak to Tony but things change [at clubs]. I've played my part. I can't see a future here for me after Tuesday."

This was a spectacular and convincing victory, not that West Bromwich's form had been that bad before Robson's departure in mid-September and Pearson has been a safe pair of hands. Having taken the lead, they were pegged back but Ipswich's revival was brief and the Baggies effectively wrapped up victory in 20 minutes.

That was the time it took for them to move from 1-1 to 4-1 against, ironically, Mowbray's former side. Ipswich looked bedraggled long before the final whistle. Jason Koumas acted as provider-in-chief. He has been a question wrapped inside an enigma for several of his managers but Mowbray will now hope that the Welsh international is as settled at The Hawthorns as he claims.

With 29 minutes gone he volleyed a pass from deep which matched Diomansy Kamara's run to perfection and the Senegal international finished inside Lewis Price's near post. Seven minutes later and the hosts were level with a freakish goal when Albion's Curtis Davies was chasing Billy Clarke only for his tackle to rebound off his teammate Chris Perry and leave Pascal Zuberbuhler beaten from 18 yards.

The third goal of a frenetic passage of play arrived five minutes before the interval with Koumas involved again. He drifted in a free-kick and Kevin Phillips diverted his header home from six yards.

If the Suffolk side held out any hope of extracting a point from this game at half-time, that disappeared within nine minutes of the restart. Koumas found Zoltan Gera on the right and from his low cross, the former Sunderland striker Phillips headed his second.

Two minutes later and it was all up for Jim Magilton's men as Phillips found Kamara, who notched a fourth. Phillips then completed his hat-trick in injury-time, drilling a shot into the bottom corner. At least that's one of Mowbray's selection dilemmas taken care of.

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