West Bromwich 3 Luton 2: Newell fuming after Phillips double delivers body blow to Luton

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The Independent Football

Never has West Bromwich Albion's astonishing mid-season capacity for goals been more dramatic. Trailing three minutes from time to a Luton side who have not won away since September, they salvaged a seventh consecutive home victory to go fourth. Kevin Phillips was the saviour, then match-winner, with his 10th and 11th goals of the season. Albion have now scored 51 League goals - equal highest in the country.

Earlier, they had turned a winning platform into probable defeat, with Luton scoring twice in eight minutes just after the hour and then hitting the woodwork.

"We have scored three goals a game for the last seven matches and you have to trust your players," said Albion's manager, Tony Mowbray. "Luton are a forward-thinking side I like and we're delighted with three points.'' Luton were furious that play went on after an 87th-minute Paul Robinson challenge that left David Bell down winded. Robinson crossed Long for Zoltan Gera to head down for Phillips to fire home left-footed amid a lengthy melee.

The Luton manager Mike Newell was adamant it was a foul and his mood darkened in overtime when Phillips rose to powerfully head home Jason Koumas' free-kick. Albion are well worth watching these days, their ability to self-destruct accelerated here by the early departure of their injured captain, Curtis Davies.

Although Richard Chaplow clipped the post, the greater attacking potency came from the visitors, with Warren Feeney twice driving across goal and failing to guide home Dean Morgan's cross close-in.

Albion were revived by Koumas' mesmeric skills and he brilliantly unlocked Luton in first-half stoppage-time by darting between Keith Keane and Ahmed Brkovic and beating Dean Kiely via a characteristic curling shot from 15-yards.

Koumas orchestrated Albion's best spell for 15 minutes after the interval, only for Diomansy Kamara and Phillips to miss chances that became costlier when another high-speed Luton thrust brought the equaliser. Keane bore into the area to play a one-two with Steve Robinson and crash in left-footed. John Hartson was denied by a borderline off-side flag before Luton caused further shockwaves.

Bell's centre from the right was helped on by Adam Boyd for Feeney to nudge in from six yards. A third goal threatened when Bell's flick trickled against the post and Newell said: "It's disappointing. We got into a winning position and couldn't see it through."

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Hoult; Watson, Clement, Davies (Hodgkiss, 19), Robinson; Kamara (Koren, 74) Chaplow, Greening, Koumas; Hartson (Gera, 74), Phillips. Substitutes not used: Zuberbuhler (gk), Carter.

Luton (4-4-2): Kiely; Keane, Coyne, Perrett, Davis; Brkovic (Boyd, 66) Bell, Robinson, Emanuel (Langley, 66); Morgan, Feeney. Substitutes not used: Beresford (gk), O'Leary, Stevens.

Referee:: J Moss (West Yorkshire).

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