West Bromwich 4 Everton 0: Ellington seizes his chance to get back in the picture

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Warming the bench through the autumn, waiting for an opportunity to show why Bryan Robson splashed £3m to bring him from Wigan Athletic to West Bromwich Albion, Nathan Ellington could have been forgiven for wondering whether he had made a major misjudgement.

His previous employers led the pack pursuing Chelsea at the Premiership summit, whereas Albion were helping to re-brand the bottom three as the West Midlands zone. But given his second start, the player known as "Duke" seized the chance to mark the birth of a son, the ingeniously named Nathal, with a rock-the-baby celebration after the second of his two goals, while updating his own video archive.

Like many strikers, he studies tapes, not only of the masters, like Ronaldo and Alessandro Del Piero, but also of his contemporaries. Ellington admitted that his old Wigan partner, Jason Roberts, and West Ham's Bobby Zamora were among his inspirations. If that hinted at a lack of self-confidence it was not evident in the rout of Everton.

Seconds before half-time Ellington strolled to the penalty spot, waited for Nigel Martyn to commit himself and stroked the ball to the opposite side. After the second goal, by Neil Clement, he took a pass from Kanu and spun away from two defenders before nonchalantly burying a 20-yard shot. Robert Earnshaw completed Albion's biggest top-flight victory in two decades - and with it, David Moyes' misery.

As he watched his team collapse, the cold breath of the Everton manager was easily mistaken for smoke coming from his ears. His dismay was divided between the men in blue and the one in black. Moyes noted two mistakes by Dermot Gallagher, who pointed to the spot when Ellington was fouled outside the area and did not send off Tomasz Kuszczak after the Albion keeper handled outside the box early in the second half.

The referee's part should not divert Everton in their post-mortem. They were error-prone at the back - witness Clement's free header from a corner - and bereft of bite in midfield, where Junichi Inamoto was able to impose his maverick talent virtually unopposed. Up front, they were all but invisible, James Beattie's lack of movement contrasting starkly with Ellington's perpetual motion and contributing to West Bromwich's first clean sheet since the opening day.

Everton, whose best chance of scoring was to be handed an own goal, bore the look of a side more likely to end up in the Championship than the Champions' League. Their record in 2005 reads like the dearth of the Blues, 30 League games having produced 31 points, and just nine wins. They have failed to score in 14 fixtures, including eight of this season's 12 matches.

In the circumstances it is unsurprising that Moyes should have been linked with a possible move for Roy Keane. Moyes, asked about Keane, retorted tersely that the matter had nothing to do with the game. Pressed further, he glared manically at his questioner and said nothing. In the meantime, Moyes' players should sit down with the match video, with Keane. If ever a team needed to hear some home truths, it is Everton.

Goals: Ellington pen (45) 1-0; Clement (51) 2-0; Ellington (69) 3-0; Earnshaw (90) 4-0.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Watson, Davies, Clement, Albrechtsen; Greening, Wallwork, Inamoto, Kamara (Carter, 63); Ellington (Earnshaw, 85), Horsfield (Kanu, 37). Substitutes not used: Hoult (gk), Moore.

Everton (4-4-2): Martyn; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville; Van der Meyde (McFadden, 74), Arteta (Osman, 77), Davies, Kilbane; Bent, Beattie (Ferguson, 64). Substitutes not used: Wright (gk), Kroldrup.

Referee: D Gallagher (Oxfordshire).

Man of the match: Inamoto.

Attendance: 24,784.