Hodgson's task clear after West Bromwich collapse

West Bromwich Albion 3 West Ham United 3

Michael Appleton began the week hoping to become West Bromwich Albion's new head coach. He ended it feeling he had endured a "microwaved lesson" in management after a canter turned into a collapse against West Ham. Now the heat is on Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson's frazzled tenure as Liverpool manager was effectively ended when Wolverhampton Wanderers won at Anfield. A repeat victory for the Premier League's bottom side in Sunday's Black Country derby, his first match as Roberto Di Matteo's successor, could drag Albion into the relegation zone for the first time this season. No pressure there, then.

The admirable Appleton, who is expected to revert to his role as first-team coach, met Hodgson on Saturday evening to discuss how a 3-0 lead almost became a disastrous defeat. It is safe to assume that the need to ally greater ruthlessness up front, ruggedness at the back and leadership to the creativity epitomised by Graham Dorrans was high on the agenda.

Momentum, argued the caretaker, is crucial in all sports. Albion had it when Dorrans, Jerome Thomas and an own goal punished some sleepy defending. Yet it swung West Ham's way once Demba Ba scored and belonged to Avram Grant's team after further goals by Carlton Cole and Ba, whose finishing could be to this relegation struggle what Carlos Tevez's was in 2006-07.

Appleton was left with the slim consolation that it could have been worse. "When you concede a goal, it's about getting into the players' heads that 'it's OK, we knew this could happen, we need to do this or that'," he said. "It's all right saying it but you need personalities on the pitch; people to take responsibility.

"We're fantastic between both boxes. We just need to be more clinical when attacking, and when defending we need to put our foot through things and be prepared to be a bit ugly. I use the phrase 'Quickly or carefully'. If we can break quickly, do it and counter-attack. If not, play carefully, play smart. We didn't do that enough in the second half.

"I'm hoping the experience Roy brings will help them make better decisions under pressure. He has a lot to work on with myself and the other coaches. But we've got some good games coming up."

Appleton's claim that "3-0 can be a dangerous score," would have seemed risible at any other club, but Albion's physical and psychological fragility made it all too plausible. West Ham, inspired by Scott Parker's half-time rallying cry, sensed and exploited it.

Grant has work to do on West Ham's own glass-jaw defending. However, Parker argued that Ba, the Senegalese signed from Hoffenheim, could yet fire them clear. "He's looked sharp in training, quite robust and strong, and he knows where the goal is," said the England midfielder.

"I think he'll adapt well to the Premier League. Out of all the leagues the German is more similar to ours. He made a massive impact today. Hopefully that will continue because we're going to need it."

Scorers: West Brom Dorrans 3, Thomas 8, Reid (og) 32 West Ham Ba 50, 83, Cole 58.

Subs: West Brom Morrison 6 (Mulumbu, 14), Barnes 5 (Thomas, 61), Tamas 5 (Dorrans, 82) Unused Carson (gk), Pablo, Vela, Cox. West Ham Piquionne 7 (Boa Morte, 57), Spector 5 (O'Neil, 78) Unused Boffin (gk), Faubert, Hitzlsperger, Kovac, Hines.

Booked: West Brom Brunt, Dorrans West Ham Boa Morte, Noble, Spector.

Man of the match Ba Match rating 9/10.

Possession West Brom 46% West Ham 54%.

Attempts on target West Brom 12 West Ham 11.

Referee L Mason (Lancashire) Att 23,916.



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore