Southampton made to suffer by West Bromwich Albion's Peter Odemwingie

West Bromwich Albion 2 Southampton 0

The Hawthorns

Any notion that West Bromwich Albion's solid start to life under Steve Clarke's management might be faltering after two defeats in a row can be discounted for the moment after two goals by Peter Odemwingie last night provided a restorative victory that lifts them back to fifth place in the Premier League table.

For Southampton, eight defeats in 10 matches so far paints a bleak picture for their prospects of survival. They managed to string together some spells of possession that will give manager Nigel Adkins a small measure of optimism but the truth is that Albion's counter-attacking game picked them off all too easily.

After leading them to two successive promotions, Adkins, whose popularity with the Southampton fans has not shown any signs of weakening, still insists that his approach to life at the top level is the right one, but the Premier League can be an unforgiving place. The return of Gaston Ramirez, the club's £12m record signing, offered some hope of improvement, although the Uruguayan's lack of sharpness after a five-week absence with a thigh injury almost cost his side when Youssouf Mulumbu dispossessed him in midfield and released Shane Long on a dangerous run through the inside-left channel after 21 minutes. However, Long spurned the chance.

Albion were stronger in midfield and more threatening in attack and it seemed only a matter of time before they would take the lead against a defence that looked disjointed. They rode their luck twice, as Zoltan Gera sidefooted over the top from close range and Peter Odemwingie fired a low shot only narrowly wide.

They had given the Nigerian far too much space to measure his target but the lesson was not heeded. He sliced his next attempt horribly wide but, when Mulumbu cut the ball back from the right on 36 minutes, Odemwingie was unmarked again and this time punishment was duly meted out. The shot took a slight deflection off the centre-back Maya Yoshida but the lead was no less deserved for that.

Albion, for whom James Morrison cried off late through injury, probably ought to have been further in front at half-time after the visitors, despite being forewarned by Adkins, were repeatedly stretched by the pace of the home side's counter-attacks.

They might have rued those missed opportunities had luck favoured Southampton early in the second half, when Rickie Lambert hit the bar after a cross by Jay Rodriguez, half-cleared, hit Ramirez and dropped at the striker's feet.

Get Adobe Flash player

It was at least encouragement for the Saints, who had begun the second half stronger in the tackle and with a little more conviction in their build-up work. But then they were caught again and fell further behind as Long broke down the left at pace with Odemwingie racing simultaneously through the middle. Long steadied himself and delivered a superb cross to the near post and Southampton were still chasing back when Odemwingie's head thumped the ball past goalkeeper Paolo Gazzaniga.

The second goal enabled Clarke to take off Long, just back from injury, and bring on Romelu Lukaku, having already replaced Graham Dorrans with Chris Brunt, presenting Southampton with two more fleet-footed forwards to worry about. Indeed, within moments they almost extended Albion's advantage, Lukaku hooking back a cross from the right on to the left foot of Brunt, whose volley missed the far post by only a whisker.

The visitors, who withdrew Rodriguez and Ramirez in the last 15 minutes, enjoyed plenty of possession as Albion were content to sit back and absorb pressure but rarely looked likely to do much with it.

Match facts

West Brom: FOSTER, JONES, McAULEY, OLSSON, RIDGEWELL, GERA, MULUMBU, YACOB, DORRANS, LONG, ODEMWINGIE

Southampton: GAZZANIGA, FOX, YOSHIDA, FONTE, CLYNE, LALLANA, S DAVIS, SCHNEIDERLIN, RAMIREZ, LAMBERT, RODRIGUEZ

Scorer. West Brom: Odemwingie 36, 60

Substitutions: West Bromwich Brunt (Dorrans, 65), Lukaku (Long, 71), Fortune (Odemwingie, 83). Southampton Guly (Ramirez, 76), Mayuka (Rodriguez, 76), Shaw (Fox, 81). Booked: West Bromwich Jones. Southampton none.

Man of the match Odemwingie. Match rating 7/10.

Possession: West Brom 48%. Southampton 52%.

Attempts on target: West Brom 6. Southampton 5.

Ref M Halsey (Lancashire). Att 25,635.

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Sport
wimbledonScot will face Ivo Karlovic next
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

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test