The idea that the top two in the First Division have automatic promotion in the bag needs to be revised after West Bromwich Albion swept aside Crewe last night to close within three points of second-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Two goals by the Portuguese midfielder Jordão late in the first half, supplemented by Daniele Dichio and Scott Dobie early in the second, will leave Albion's Black Country rivals looking anxiously over their shoulders.
Albion, whose squad should be further strengthened by the arrival of new signings Jason Koumas and Trevor Benjamin before the holiday programme, reached half-time in front after a burst of three goals in the closing nine minutes as Jordão doubled his tally of league goals for the season to twice put them in front, with Dean Ashton replying in between.
The opener followed a mistake by Crewe's Wayne Collins, who allowed himself to be caught in possession by Jordão, who drew Clayton Ince out of his goal before calmly slotting the ball home. Two minutes later, Ashton forced the ball in from close range after Russell Hoult had kept out a header and follow-up shot from Neil Sorvel.
Albion regained the advantage when Ince spilled a low shot by Dobie, recovered to beat the ball away as Adam Chambers followed up, but could not stop Jordão driving home his second.
Their noses in front a second time, the home side made sure they would not be caught by scoring two more goals in the opening nine minutes of the second half. Dichio put away Albion's third, placing a header wide of Ince from Igor Balis' cross after 48 minutes, before the strength of Dobie brought them a fourth six minutes later.
West Bromwich Albion (3-5-2): Hoult; Sigurdsson (Varga, 83), Moore, Gilchrist; Balis (Fox, 89), Chambers, McInnes, Jordão, Clement; Dichio, Dobie (Taylor, 75). Substitutes not used: Adamson (gk), Cummings.
Crewe Alexandra (4-4-2): Ince; Wright (Walker, 57), Macauley, Foster, Smith; Jack, Collins, Lunt (Rix, 76), Sorvel; Ashton, Hulse (Little, 62). Substitutes not used: Tomlinson (gk), Charnock.
Referee: G Cain (Bootle).Reuse content