West Bromwich 4 Ipswich Town 0: Phillips keeps Albion up with the early pace

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The Independent Football

West Bromwich Albion's manager, Tony Mowbray, was full of praise for his players but he must know that this flattering result revealed little about the true potential of his squad.

Diomansy Kamara, Jason Koumas and Paul McShane were among those to depart after last season's play-off final defeat. Mowbray has acquired 13 new players but it was one of the old guard, Kevin Phillips, who impressed on Saturday.

At 34, and with five other strikers vying for Mowbray's favour, Phillips knows goals are the only way to hold on to his starting place.

"We have got a big squad and I do not expect to play every game," he said. "But I feel strong and fit and, as long as I keep working hard, I will give the manager a headache. If I keep scoring goals, the manager will find it difficult to leave me out."

Ishmael Miller opened the scoring for the home side after 23 minutes, but the second period saw Ipswich dominate. Alan Lee twice came close to an equaliser and Alex Bruce and Jon Walters nearly scored with headers late on.

Three minutes from the end, however, Filipe Teixeira took a pass from the full-back Paul Robinson before planting the ball past Neil Alexander in the Ipswich goal. The visitors were demoralised and, with their defence in disarray, Phillips scored twice in two minutes, first stabbing home from close range and then wrapping things up with a shot from the edge of the penalty area in stoppage time.

"That is four goals in five games for me, but it is not about me, it is about the collective," Phillips said. "I can't stress how important it is to stay within the pack early on because the games come thick and fast."

Goals: Miller (23) 1-0; Teixeira (87) 2-0; Phillips (89) 3-0; Phillips (90) 4-0.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Kiely; Robinson, Barnett, Albrechtsen, Hoefkens; Brunt (Chaplow, 71), Greening, Morrison (Koren, 61), Teixeira; Miller (Pele, 80), Phillips. Substitutes not used: Beattie, MacDonald.

Ipswich Town (4-4-2) Alexander; Harding, De Vos, Bruce, Wright; Walters, Miller, Garvan, Legwinski (Peters, 55); Lee, Counago (Clarke, 75). Substitutes not used: Supple (gk), Clarke, Casement, Peters, Roberts.

Referee: J Moss (West Yorkshire).

Booked: West Bromwich Barnett. Ipswich De Vos, Harding.

Man of the match: Phillips.

Attendance: 19,460.