Gera inspires Baggies to first win

West Bromwich Albion 2 Bolton Wanderers 1
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In-fighting and political intrigue are part of West Bromwich Albion life. Each time the club go up, their top brass seem to fall out with each other.

So their first win of this season - the first by any of the three promoted clubs in an astonishing 23 attempts - should not necessarily be viewed as an end to the perplexing turmoil.

What came over loudest on a rousing Saturday evening at The Hawthorns was the good will of players and supporters to the man at the eye of the storm, Gary Megson. But the manager remains reluctant to seize the olive branch his chairman, Jeremy Peace, offered on Friday. While the players dedicated the victory to Megson, he brushed aside suggestions that the pre-match rallying cry had restored stability.

The disappointed Bolton Wanderers manager, Sam Allardyce, recognises the plot. "It was the same when I was here with Brian Talbot in 1989-90," he said. "If you lose, somebody writes that you will be sacked. Gary has got a great result. I'm sick it's against me but I hope it puts things to bed."

Despite the apparent doubts over whether Megson is capable of going any higher with Albion, he has turned Peace's financial backing into promising recruitment. Kanu's hero status was underlined with a second goal in two home games, then the right-winger, Zoltan Gera, scored from a Jonathan Greening corner.

The energetic Gera, signed from Ferencvaros for £1.5m, was the star turn, twice going close in a first half in which Darren Moore had a header cleared off the line by Gary Speed. On the day Robert Earnshaw and Jason Koumas were dropped a week before Wales' World Cup qualifier against England, the Hungarian captain performed an Earnshaw-like celebration of his emphatic near-post header. Bolton looked nothing like the side who drew at Arsenal. With Kevin Davies and Jay-Jay Okocha injured, they struck the post through Kevin Nolan but needed a helping hand with their consolation goal as Stelios Giannakopoulos's free-kick eluded a distracted Russell Hoult.

To combat Bolton's aerial menace, Megson insisted he would have handed Moore his first Premiership start of the season even if Darren Purse and Neil Clement hadn't been suspended. The defender was a rock and spoke afterwards of "togetherness at the club". "We are big enough and bold enough to brush off the comments, but you can take those matters to heart," he said. "With this win, let's move forward and start climbing the table."

Goals Kanu (57) 1-0; Gera (65) 2-0; Giannakopoulos (73) 2-1.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Hoult; Haas, Moore, Gaardsoe, Albrechtsen (Dyer, 80); Gera, Scimeca, Johnson, Greening; Kanu, Horsfield. Substitutes not used Kuszczak (gk), Contra, O'Connor, Earnshaw.

Bolton Wanderers (4-1-3-2): Jaaskelainen; Ben Haim, Jaidi, N'Gotty, Gardner; Campo (Kaku, 65); Nolan, Speed, Okocha (Diouf, 33); Pedersen (Giannakopoulos, 58), Ferdinand. Substitutes not used Oakes (gk), Barness.

Referee M Clattenburg (County Durham).

Man of the Match Gera.

Attendance 23,849.

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