Odemwingie takes advantage of Newcastle's soft underbelly

West Bromwich Albion 3 Newcastle United 1

The "Great Escape" of 2004-05 is seared into the psyche of West Bromwich Albion supporters. As Roberto Di Matteo's class of 2010-11 demonstrated with this emphatic defeat of Newcastle United – Albion's first in 18 league meetings with the Tyneside team since Boxing Day 1984 – promoted sides can aspire to more than mere survival.

In that fabled season under Bryan Robson, Albion stayed up after scraping together six wins and 34 points. Yesterday's victory was their sixth in 16 matches. It might have been stamped "Made in Africa", having been set up by Cameroon midfielder Somen Tchoyi's fine first-half goal and topped off by two clinical finishes by Nigeria's Peter Odemwingie in the final 20 minutes.

Chris Hughton, the Newcastle manager, was clearly perturbed by a supine display, which left them with two points from the last 15. He kept the players in the dressing-room for a 90-minute "inquest", emerging to explain: "Some of it is about venting anger and some of it about getting answers. I thought we contributed to our own downfall by giving away poor goals."

Albion thus moved up to within a point of the top six, their position all the sweeter given the struggles of neighbouring Aston Villa and Wolves, their next two opponents. The way they picked Newcastle apart, relentlessly going forward with sharp movement and crisp, ground-level passing, augurs well for the derbies.

Newcastle, who came up from the Championship ahead of Albion, never showed comparable fluency, having to wait until stoppage time before Peter Lovenkrands' goal spoiled Di Matteo's hopes of a first clean sheet in 15 games. Sol Campbell, in particular, struggled against Albion's mobility and had nothing to show for his 500th top-flight appearance but a yellow card.

Di Matteo, who styles himself "head coach", praised a "brilliant performance". The Italian was justifiably pleased by the contribution of the 6ft 3in Tchoyi, a big unit for a winger, and Odemwingie, who had scored only once in six matches. He also singled out midfielder Graham Dorrans, who added ball-winning to his playmaking skills, and to Paul Scharner for the way he subdued Andy Carroll.

"We scored some great goals and had the majority of the game," said Di Matteo. "Our game is to keep possession of the ball and move it, which we did very well. We had a little dip in results, but that happens to bigger clubs than us. People forget we haven't got a big squad."

For Albion's breakthrough, Tchoyi still had work to do when the ball reached him via Chris Brunt. Until that moment Jose Enrique had contained his powerful surges, but this time the Spaniard stood off and allowed him to switch the ball on to his favoured, left foot before curling it through a congested penalty area and beyond goalkeeper Tim Krul.

Scott Carson denied Newcastle an equaliser by tipping over Steven Taylor's 51st-minute header, while Marek Cech athletically cleared off the line from Jonas Gutierrez on the hour. Albion soon re-established their ascendancy. Danny Guthrie, stretching for the ball and injuring an ankle in the process, gifted possession to Odemwingie, who shook off Taylor and Campbell before angling the ball home.

Albion's joy was complete when Cech's long pass saw the same player race between the centre-backs before rounding Krul and slotting in his sixth goal since he and Tchoyi signed on the same summer's day. Lovenkrands' hooked reply was scant consolation.

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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent