West Brom vs Newcastle match report: Ayoze Perez and Fabricio Coloccini make it a totally different picture for Alan Pardew

West Brom 0 Newcastle 2

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The Independent Football

There was a moment towards the end of this impressive victory at West Bromwich Albion when Alan Pardew, the Newcastle United manager, turned and gave a thumbs-up to the club owner, Mike Ashley, in the directors’ box.

It was a moment that summed up the remarkable transformation in the fortunes of Pardew and his Newcastle side in the six weeks since they travelled to a Monday night match at Stoke City fresh from Ashley telling this newspaper that “if we lose… then he’s gone”.  They did lose that night but Pardew stayed and Ashley has been rewarded with a run of five straight wins in all competitions.

Indeed in prevailing at The Hawthorns, Newcastle climbed to seventh in the Premier League – and within two points of fourth place – to underline that few clubs do momentum, either positive or negative, quite like they do.

A team who between late March and mid-October earned just one league success in 14 games have now won four in a row in the Premier League and after a victory secured by goals from Ayoze Perez and Fabricio Coloccini, Pardew expressed his gratitude to Ashley for the patience shown to him. “Everyone was pulling at him when we weren’t winning any games and he stuck with me and was very supportive,” he said.

“Our performance level has gone up with the confidence,” he added. “It is difficult to be manager of Newcastle when you are losing [because] excuses don’t really wash with our fans but we weren’t far away in those games at the start of season.

“Newcastle fans are an extreme. They are emotional – when they win they go mad, when they lose they go mad and we weren’t winning.”

The travelling supporters in the Smethwick End were going mad for the right reasons after a Newcastle performance which highlighted the canny business done in the summer when they picked up Spanish forward Perez for £1.6m from Tenerife and Daryl Janmaat, the Netherlands’ World Cup right-back, for £5m from Feyenoord.

 

Perez’s opening goal on the stroke of half-time was a splash of colour on a grey first half, and underlined the potential of the Spain Under-21 striker. Remy Cabella picked out the overlapping Janmaat and theright-back delivered a low ball across to Perez, who diverted it into the far corner with a delicious flick of his heel. His two previous appearances had brought winning goals against Tottenham and Liverpool and it is not hard to see why the slight 21-year-old, voted ‘revelation of the season’ in the Spanish second division last term, was also pursued by FC Porto last summer.

Pardew said: “We thought his physicality could be an issue but he had such technical quality, you are hoping that’s going to see him through and it has. That goal was worthy of winning any game.”

During a misleadingly bright start, Newcastle had gone close to an early breakthough when Sammy Ameobi sent a looping 25-yard shot on to the top of Ben Foster’s crossbar but Perez’s goal was their first shot on target. Once in front, they never looked like surrendering their advantage to a subdued Albion side and added a second goal following a half-cleared corner in the 62nd minute. Janmaat was involved again, recycling the danger with a brilliant cross to the far post, where Coloccini arrived behind Craig Dawson to bury a header for his first league goal since January 2011.

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Ayoze Perez celebrates his goal against West Brom

 

Pardew, noting Janmaat’s involvement in both goals, said: “He is an attacking full-back and we have had to curtail that a bit, as in the Dutch league you don’t get exploited as much as in the Premier League but he has learned quickly.”

For Albion, by contrast, this was a disappointing afternoon summed up by an awful miss by Andre Wisdom, who failed even to test Tim Krul, the Newcastle goalkeeper, from the edge of the six-yard box in the second half.

There was an underwhelming display too from Saido Berahino, their seven-goal leading scorer who received his first England call-up on Thursday. He had only one chance of note, a rising shot that Krul swatted over after Victor Anichebe’s lay-off. Alan Irvine, the Albion manager, said: “He probably had his poorest game. Everybody will probably ask ‘is it a result of what’s just happened to him?’, but you can have a poor game at any time.”

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Fabricio Coloccini celebrates his goal

This week Albion unveiled a statue to their record scorer Tony Brown, who struck 218 league goals for the club but won just one England cap. Berahino will join up with England today after scoring 12 league goals. Things move much quicker these days. Just ask Pardew.

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