West Brom 2-0 Everton: Long and McAuley keep Baggies' early season run going

Posted by hossain.shezu on on Sept. 1, 2012, 11:20 p.m.  

An outstanding defensive performance was the foundation on which Steve Clarke's team recorded its second win of the season to continue its unbeaten run in the Premier League

Shane Long and Gareth McAuley grabbed second half goals for West

Brom to secure a 2-0 victory over Everton at the Hawthorns.

Long, who had hit the bar in the first half, converted Peter

Odemwingie's low cross from the left to put the Baggies

ahead.

The points were sealed when McAuley, who played a big part in an

outstanding defensive performance by Steve Clarke's team, then beat

Tim Howard to a corner in the latter stages to end the Toffees' 100

percent start to the campaign.

Neither side included any new signings made in the final days of

the transfer window in their squads, with Everton completing a deal

for the versatile Copenhagen player Bryan Oviedo too late for him

to feature.

West Brom was missing the bench threat of Romelu Lukaku, but were

able to include Odemwingie, who had also been an injury doubt,

among their substitutes.

Everton exerted most of the early pressure, with the powerful duo

of Marouane Fellaini and Nikica Jelavic pinning back the West Brom

defense. Ben Foster remained untested, however, despite the crosses

aimed into the box and referee Jon Moss rightly waved played on

when Jelavic appealed for a penalty under the challenge of Claudio

Yacob.

It was West Brom who eventually had the first real chance of the

contest having grown into their passing game as the half hour mark

approached. Shortly after Graham Dorrans' through ball had just

escaped James Morrison, Long rattled the crossbar with a header

from Liam Ridgewell's excellent cross.

The substitution of Darron Gibson, who suffered an injury, was a

factor in the deterioration of Everton's performance and control of

possession in the first half but even when they did reach the

penalty area, West Brom center backs McAuley and Jonas Olsson

competed strongly with Fellaini and Jelavic and permitted headed

attempts only from unthreatening areas.

Their defensive solidity was nearly rewarded when Morrison found

space in the center of the pitch to advance at goal, rounding

Sylvain Distin on the way, but Tim Howard made an excellent save to

deny the Scottish midfielder.

Everton continued to edge the possession stakes in the second half

and finally created a chance of note when substitute Kevin Mirallas

rolled in a cross from the right that Fellaini clumsily blazed over

the crossbar with his left foot when unmarked at the back

post.

West Brom had introduced a wide forward of its own from the bench

in Odemwingie, and the Nigerian created the first goal of the same

in much the same way as Mirallas had laid on that gilt-edged chance

for Everton. Escaping the attention of Hibbert down the left, he

fired a low cross into the box that evaded Phil Jagielka and was

tapped in by Long from close range.

Victor Anichebe was added to the Everton attack as Moyes attempted

to find a spark of inspiration but McAuley, Olsson and company held

firm.

Indeed, it was West Brom who looked more likely to exploit the

space left by Everton's raids forward, with Yacob and Mulumbu going

close from distance.

And when the latter's shot was palmed behind by Howard, McAuley

stole in front of the goalkeeper from the resulting corner to seal

the points and continue the Baggies' superb start to the

season.

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