Olsson's double lifts pedestrian Albion to summit

West Bromwich Albion 3 Doncaster Rovers 1
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The Independent Football

By hook or by crook, but with little of the football for which they are renowned, West Bromwich Albion are back on top of the Championship.

For the second game running they turned a deficit into a 3-1 victory but the fact the two goals which swung this contest were set-piece headers by 6ft 3in central defender Jonas Olsson underlined how the passing game with which they last won promotion in 2008 has perhaps been compromised by new manager Roberto Di Matteo.

Doncaster Rovers were often easier eye on the eye, although New Zealander Chris Wood sent the home supporters away with something to remember an untidy performance by with a terrific strike five minutes from time.

"Three things pleased me," Di Matteo said. "The three points, two goals from set-pieces and the one from Chris. That goal really excited me but we have a lot of work to do."

Any hopes Albion might have harboured of Doncaster lacking a cutting edge without the injured James Coppinger and James Hayter disappeared inside seven minutes with the home-grown Waide Fairhurst's first senior goal, the youngster touching in left-footed from Billy Sharp's cross.

Albion's evening soon grew more troubled, Marek Cech limping off with a twisted ankle after his two-goal contribution against Plymouth at the weekend. Their equaliser nonetheless soon came from a Graham Dorrans corner, forced in by Olsson as John Oster blundered when trying to clear off the line.

All the goal did was inspire Doncaster to produce a substantial spell of pressure in which Martin Woods drove narrowly wide and saw another shot. blocked by Olsson.

However, Albion snatched a 65th-minute lead when Dorrans was again the provider with a free-kick curled in from the left for the diving Olsson to power in.

Only a glaring miss by Adam Lockwood with a free header to Woods' in-swinging corner prevented Doncaster equalising before the 17-year-old Wood, an Academy product, took a couple of neat controlling touches from a bouncing loose ball and bludgeoned home a stunning 25-yard right-foot shot.

"We missed the best chance of the game and gave as good as we got," said Doncaster's manager Sean O'Driscoll.

West Bromwich Albion (4-3-3): Carson; Zuiverloon, Martis, Olsson, Mattock; Mulumbu, Koren, Cech (Thomas, 15); Brunt (Wood, 72), Bednar (Teixeira, 89), Dorrans. Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Barnett, Reid, Cox.

Doncaster Rovers (4-4-2): Sullivan; Chambers, Lockwood, Shackell, Roberts (O'Connor, 32); Spicer, Oster (Shiels, 63), Stock, Woods; Sharp, Fairhurst. Substitutes not used: Smith (gk), Wilson, Fortune, Hird, Webster.

Referee: K Wright (Cambridgeshire).