Hughes running out of time

West Bromwich 2 Manchester City 1

"So, Gianluigi/Fernando/Kaka ... we're willing to pay you £200,000-a-week, pay your club whatever it takes to buy you – but how do you feel about playing Blackpool away next season?" Championship football won't come to Manchester City, surely not, but they are in danger right now. There's all manner of madness and manager Mark Hughes is sinking fast.

He reacted with fury to this defeat, storming down the tunnel, incredulous at the most inept, tepid display imaginable, which was capped by an extraordinary piece of careless defending by Micah Richards, whose performance was almost as poor as Richard Dunne's, allowing Roman Bednar to head the 92nd-minute winning goal with which the Hawthorns exploded in joyous, overdue relief.

"Sacked in the morning," appears to be the victorious fans' chant of choice these days, aimed at losing managers, and Hughes faced it yesterday from gleeful West Brom supporters – and a smattering of his own it must be said – while there was also a muted chorus of "you don't know what you are doing" from the sky blue corner.

Hughes does know. But it really didn't look like it at times. Hughes, with one win in nine League games, is under severe pressure. It's Hull City at home next but, after that, will Hughes be back? Nothing can be ruled out even if the powers that be in Abu Dhabi wanted it be known last night that the manager wasn't going to be replaced.

A period of calming down, after reading the riot act, was required. Hughes was honest, confirming that he had, again, received "assurances" about his future, adding that he felt Sheikh Mansour and his associates were "pragmatic" and understood "it can't happen overnight" but he also admitted something else. Money, the potential for money, isn't everything and the expectation is weighing heavy.

"Possibly it has done in recent weeks," Hughes said. "We have to be able to understand that the focus on Manchester City at this point in time is huge, possibly bigger than it has been in Manchester City's history. At the moment it's a negative focus because we are in the bottom three. It's clear that we need help. But it's no guarantee how many of those players we can bring to the club."

It was a theme picked up by West Brom manager Tony Mowbray, albeit with a different spin. The gap between his rock-bottom team and 18th-placed City is now just three points. "I think they are going to have potentially a few hundred million to spend in January and we are going to find a few loans," he said. "I can confidently say Man City won't be near the bottom of the table." Confidently say? He's probably the only one who can.

It was a deserved victory. After a first-half plagued by errors, even if a rejuvenated Bednar was desperately unlucky when he cut inside only for his shot to strike a post, then the head of goalkeeper Joe Hart before bouncing away, West Brom went ahead after James Morrison, picked out with a clever reverse pass from £100,000 debutant Graham Dorrans, released Luke Moore, who was played on-side by Pablo Zabaleta. He side-footed home his first goal for the club.

For City there was no Robinho (injured), no Jo (ill) and no Elano (dropped) – he may well have played his last game under Hughes – but an expensive South American did score. Substitute Felipe Caicedo, a £5m-plus purchase in January and an Ecuadorean international, back-heeled an audacious equaliser after the ball fell to him following Michael Ball's throw-in.

The effort brushed West Brom's Chris Brunt, Scott Carson and the post before crossing the line. It was Brunt's first touch – having replaced Jonathan Greening – but it had been Bednar whom Mowbray had intended to take off. Instead the Czech Republic striker stayed on and stole through to meet Gianni Zuiverloon's deep cross with a header and win the game for West Brom.

"A play of fate," Mowbray smiled. Hughes felt that had conspired against him – another injury-time defeat, just like against Everton last week. "Time is something we all need, myself included," he said. And time will tell whether he gets it.

Goals: Moore (69) 1-0; Caicedo (84) 1-1; Bednar (90+2) 2-1.

West Brom (4-1-3-2): Carson; Zuiverloon, Meite, Olsson, Robinson; Kim (Dorrans, 64); Morrison, Greening (Brunt, 83), Koren; Bednar, Moore (Beattie, 74). Substitutes not used: Kiely (gk), Hoefkens, Barnett, Pele.

Manchester City (4-4-2): Hart; Zabaleta, Richards, Dunne, Ball; Wright-Phillips, Kompany, Fernandes, Ireland; Vassell, Benjani (Caicedo, 58). Substitutes not used: Schmeichel (gk), Onuoha, Garrido, Clayton, Hamann, Evans.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

Booked: West Brom: Robinson, Bednar. Manchester City: Dunne.

Man of the match: Morrison.

Attendance: 25,010.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
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
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
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
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
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