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?
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor