West Bromwich 2 Hull City 0: Hartson settles Albion's nerves with debut double

Click to follow
The Independent Football

After this win, which was not without its more difficult moments for the former Premiership side, Bryan Robson invoked some great names in Albion's past, specifically a couple of famous strikers, Jeff Astle and Cyrille Regis.

The reason for the trip down memory lane was the pair of goals, without him doing much else, scored by John Hartson, the striker signed from Celtic for £500,000 in the summer. It is the latest move in a career that has accrued £27m in transfer fees and taken in Luton, Arsenal, Wimbledon, West Ham and Coventry. Hartson, 31, ended his five years in Scotland with just shy of 200 goals.

His first strike, a lob over Boaz Myhill after wrestling clear of Damien Delaney, took him there, and also meant the end of a nervous 15 minutes for Albion, when they should have fallen behind. His second was well taken in stoppage time, after a selfless pass from Nigel Quashie. The midfielder had also been the provider for the opening goal.

"I'm sure our fans are going to take to John," Robson said. "He leads the line well, he's a clever footballer and has got a lot more ability than people give him credit for. The club has a tradition of players like Jeff Astle and Cyrille Regis and I think for a few years the fans will see another very good centre-forward in their side."

The scoreline flattered the hosts, which Robson had the grace to admit. His counterpart, Phil Parkinson, taking charge of his first game with Hull since arriving from Colchester United, saw his players also make a nervy start before missing three good chances.

Parkinson picked a few players he admitted were not fully fit but, with the game goalless at the break, he went on the offensive. A cross by Jon Parkin deceived the debutant goalkeeper Pascal Zuberbühler, the Swiss first choice at the World Cup who did not concede a goal in Germany, but hit the post. Darryl Duffy then missed two chances within six minutes.

Robson was not happy: "We should have been able to control the game better with the players we've got."

Despite several injured players being on the verge of match-fitness, Robson is impatient to add to his squad, although he lost out to Premiership Watford for the Queen's Park Rangers defender Danny Shittu yesterday. He also wants a forward "to balance the squad", but at least Hartson knows his place is safe.

Goals: Hartson (57) 1-0; Hartson (90) 2-0.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Zuberbühler; Watson, Davies, Perry, Robinson; Gera (Carter, 78), Wallwork (Inamoto, 87), Quashie, Greening (Albrechtsen, 90); Hartson, Ellington. Substitutes not used: Kuszczak (gk), Chaplow.

Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Delaney, Dawson; Fagan, Welsh, Marney, Elliott (France, 28); Parkin (Burgess, 68), Duffy (Andrews, 77). Substitutes not used: Duke (gk), Thelwell.

Referee: L Probert (Gloucestershire).

Booked: West Bromwich Albion Greening; Hull City Welsh, Marney.

Man of the match: Quashie.

Attendance: 20,682.