West Bromwich 4 Leeds Utd 2: Kamara gives Albion best of the six

Leeds just lose out in battle of the caretakers
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The Independent Football

There was little after this six-act drama at The Hawthorns to suggest either of the caretaker managers had had a rethink on their immediate career intentions. Despite watching his side fail to beat 10-man West Bromwich Albion, John Carver continued to play up his own credentials and speak of the Leeds United job as if he had already been promised it.

His opposite number, Nigel Pearson, had been reticent about his own ambitions since he took over following the sacking of Bryan Robson earlier this month. He may have revealed that he had not applied to become Robson's permanent successor, but surely there were easier ways to rule himself out of the running for a post for which, according to the club, they have had 30 applications.

"I have kept my feelings on the situation close to my chest and I will continue to do that," said Pearson. "I haven't applied for the job, and that is all I am prepared to say." Carver praised the character of his side after they battled back from three goals down. But Leeds were poor, and even though the visitors had a one-man advantage for much of the contest following Paul McShane's first-half dismissal, they failed to show any resolve as West Bromwich took all three points.

"It has been a honeymoon period for me," said Carver. "I know what problems there are and I know what we need to sort out. My priority is to get the team back up the League and I will continue to do it to the best of my ability."

Both managers watched from the edge of their technical areas as their teams battled it out. But no manner of gesticulating looked likely to bring a goal. Or some entertainment. The game opened up on 32 minutes when Albion were awarded a penalty. Geoff Horsfield, the former Hawthorns favourite, tumbled under the clumsy challenge of McShane, which led to the young defender's dismissal. David Healy's spot-kick, however, was horribly wide of Pascal Züberbuhler's post.

With five minutes to go before the break, Albion took the lead. Jason Koumas's corner was headed home by the defender Martin Albrechtsen. West Bromwich added to their lead on 65 minutes. Kevin Phillips started a breakaway, playing in Darren Carter. The midfielder's low cross was converted by Diomansy Kamara, who slid in at the back post.

Try as they may, Leeds were failing to make an impression on their weakenedopponents, and the points looked assured for Albion on 79 minutes. Kamara made a mazy run before playing a short pass for Phillips, who tapped in a third.

But Leeds were not finished. Horsfield pulled what looked like a consolation goal back on 82 minutes. The substitute Steve Stone added another with two minutes to go after Horsfield's header lashed the post. But Kamara added the finish when he chipped Warner from the edge of the penalty area.