Baggies enjoy overdue change of Fortune

West Bromwich Albion 3 Middlesbrough 0

Early though it is, West Bromwich Albion are seeing something from the strikers they have had to beg, steal and borrow this month that Middlesbrough are struggling to extract from one who cost them £12.7m last January.

Afonso Alves has been putting few defenders to the sword other than those in the Blue Square Premier League with Barrow and continues to bemuse with his wastefulness. No side, least of all one now without a win in 10 top-flight games, can afford to spurn four openings of the quality he did.

How the Brazilian must have envied the easy and fortuitous manner in which goals came at the other end in a game which left these sides level on points.

While Middlesbrough's looks a troubled camp, with key players wanted by other clubs and the manager, Gareth Southgate, admitting he is stretching the patience of his famously loyal chairman, Steve Gibson, Albion have new hope as well as new forwards.

Three successive home wins, a first-ever Premier League double and a biggest victory of 2008-09 have opened the door to possible safety and confirmed the season-long belief of their manager, Tony Mowbray, ironically a Teesside legend, that all they needed was another goal or two.

Jay Simpson is showing the dash and class that mark him out as another Arsenal star in the making and, on Saturday, a second loanee provided much promise only two days after arriving from Nancy.

Marc-Antoine Fortune got lucky with the in-off from Robert Koren's shot that established Albion's comfortable lead but was a mobile operator in an attack previously exposed as pedestrian.

"I could see in his first two days that he's got lovely appreciation of the ball," Mowbray said. "He uses his body well and has been finishing well in training. I like good footballers and this kid is a good player. We tried to bring him in last August but it didn't quite happen."

Like Cyrille Regis, who 32 years ago also scored his first league goal for the club at home to Middlesbrough, the 27-year-old is from French Guyana. And he was not the only Fortune they had.

Just how much this was Albion's day was underlined by the fact their first goal, from the former Middlesbrough youngster Chris Brunt, was both offside and deflected. The third, by the excellent Koren, was unblemished, albeit soon after Didier Digard had been debatably red-carded for lungeing in on Borja Valero.

Manchester United are the next Hawthorns visitors but West Bromwich are back in touching distance of so many sides they might have lost contact with. Among them are these latest victims, who should have led at the interval and who have now lost four successive away matches.

"We were halfway up the table seven or eight weeks go," Southgate said. "Now there is a loss of confidence. It may sound ridiculous but we are not that far away from a decent run of results. To read 3-0 in print is a nightmare, but it doesn't reflect the game."

Goals: Brunt (4) 1-0; Fortune (54) 2-0; Koren (68) 3-0.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Carson; Hoefkens, Barnett (Pele, 39), Donk, Robinson; Koren, Valero, Greening, Brunt; Simpson (Moore, 77), Fortune (Beattie, 68). Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Cech, Kim, Teixeira.

Middlesbrough (4-4-1-1): Turnbull; McMahon (Bates, 70), Wheater, Riggott (Huth, 36), Taylor; O'Neil (Mido, 57), Digard, Shawky, Tuncay; Downing; Alves. Substitutes not used: Jones (gk), Emnes, Johnson, Bennett.

Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).

Booked: Middlesbrough Huth, Shawky.

Sent off: Digard (62).

Man of the match: Koren.

Attendance: 25,557.

For Premier League highlights, click here .

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz