West Brom 1 Newcastle United 0: Keith Downing insists he is not man for WBA, despite remaining unbeaten after four games
Berahino scored the only goal of the game with a late penalty
Thursday 02 January 2014
More than two weeks after relieving Steve Clarke of his position, Albion have still not found a new manager and yet remain unbeaten in the interim. Indeed, caretaker boss Keith Downing now has a win to go with his three draws after substitute Saido Berahino scored from the penalty spot with three minutes left on Wednesday.
Downing insists, however, that he does not want to be considered as a permanent replacement for Clarke.
“I’m enjoying it but for me it was always about supporting the club in the short term,” he said. “It was important to change the momentum and we have done that over the Christmas period by working hard. The players have got back some of their belief.
“But my own position has not changed. I was always in a supporting role and that is how I intend to continue.”
Yet Downing has done his reputation no harm, not only with results on the field but in his handling of the controversy that has followed Nicolas Anelka’s “quenelle” goal celebration at West Ham, which sees the Frenchman under investigation by the Football Association for what was perceived in some quarters as an anti-Semitic gesture. Downing picked Anelka yesterday after weighing up the striker’s state of mind, having already obtained a promise that there would be no repeat.
Albion’s cause yesterday was helped by a straight red card for defender Mathieu Debuchy which left Newcastle to play the final 27 minutes with 10 men. Debuchy was sent off after launching a studs-up, two-footed challenge on Albion’s Claudio Yacob. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said he could not argue with the decision.
“There was no malicious intent but you can’t take off and he knows it,” the manager said. Newcastle, after a run of seven wins and one defeat in nine matches, have now lost two in a row.
Albion had a number of chances to take the lead before half-time but were unable to convert any of them, failing to take advantage of the success Morgan Amalfitano enjoyed attacking Newcastle’s left flank. Stéphane Sessègnon (twice), Jonas Olsson, Chris Brunt and Anelka were all wasteful in front of goal.
Just before the penalty award, Liam Ridgewell missed a clear chance when he somehow directed Berahino’s low cross wide of the left-hand post when it seemed easier to score.
The penalty came when goalkeeper Tim Krul brought down Albion substitute Matej Vydra with his trailing leg after Brunt’s pass put the Czech striker through on goal.
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-1-1): Foster 7/10; Jones 6, McAuley 7, Olsson 7, Ridgewell 6; Amalfitano 8, Mulumbu 7, Jacob 7, Brunt 7; Sessegnon 6; Anelka 6.
Substitutes: Berahino 7 (Jones ht), Vydra (Sessegnon 77 ), Gera (Anelka 87)
Substitutes not used: Myhill (gk), Morrison, Long, Lugano, Gera.
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Krul 6; Debuchy 6, Williamson 7, Coloccini 6, Santon 6; Gouffran 5, Cabaye 6, Tiote 6; Ameobi 6, Sissoko 6, Remy 7.
Substitutes: Ben Arfa 7 (Gouffran ht), Yanga-Mbiwa 6 (Coloccini 65), Haidara (Ameobi 76)
Substitutes not used: Elliot (gk), Anita, Cisse, Taylor.
Sent-off: Debuchy (63)
Referee: Lee Mason (Greater Manchester)
Man of the match: Amalfitano
Match rating: 7/10.
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