West Bromwich 2 Blackburn Rovers 0: Greening shines as Albion plot escape

Blackburn's feelgood factor is blown away by veteran strike force at Fortress Hawthorns
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The Independent Football

Well-taken goals from Kevin Campbell, on his 36th birthday, and Jonathan Greening sealed this victory and saw West Bromwich rise above Middlesbrough in the Premiership on a day that their relegation rivals Birmingham, Portsmouth and Sunderland all lost.

West Bromwich's manager Bryan Robson knows, however, not to get too carried away with victories like these. "We've done this before where we've had a great result and shot ourselves in the foot the next game," he said. "I just don't want to go to Goodison Park on the last day of the season needing a win to survive."

His opposite number at Blackburn, Mark Hughes, might be able to teach his old pal about hubris after some good performances. Yesterday's showing did not become a team who had won five of their last six games, including a 4-3 win over Manchester United on Wednesday.

"We didn't come out today - we started sloppily and had no urgency," said Hughes. "Maybe that's a result of Wednesday but that's too easy an excuse."

Sir Alex Ferguson had accused Rovers of being dirty and one-dimensional after Wednesday's defeat, but here the bully boys went soft. "There's only one Lily Savage," sang the home fans about Robbie Savage. Yet Lily is sharper and puts more people down than her namesake did.

"We're not that type of team anyway," said Hughes, whose side added just one booking to the 48 yellow and four red cards they had previously accumulated. "But we pride ourselves on being strong and resolute and the players weren't up for it today."

West Bromwich took the lead after just six minutes through Campbell, who had earlier missed an easy chance. Junichi Inamoto played a 40-yard ball from the right in the direction of the veteran striker, who was marked by Andy Todd on the edge of the box.

Campbell chested the ball cleverly past the Blackburn defender and prodded home past Brad Friedel. The excellent Greening, who edged debutant Nigel Quashie as man of the match, made it two with a brilliant piece of skill.

As the ball floated innocuously towards him, he knocked it over his head past Tugay Kerimoglu, flicked it up with his knee and rifled a left-footed shot past Friedel from the edge of the box.

Blackburn never looked like scoring, and the West Bromwich defence was comfortable despite the energy and skill of the electric David Bentley, who was still on a high after his hat-trick against Manchester United.