West Brom 2-0 Wolves

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport
Chris Brunt (right) scores for West Brom against Wolves
Chris Brunt smashed West Brom ahead in the first half

West Bromwich Albion edged a captivating derby with Wolves to earn a first home win of the season and move out of the relegation zone.

Chris Brunt set the Baggies on their way when he smashed the ball home after good work by Billy Jones.

Kevin Doyle went close for Wolves and Roger Johnson headed wastefully wide.

But substitute Peter Odemwingie sealed the victory late on, consigning the visitors to a fifth consecutive league defeat when he drilled home a low shot.

The striker's perfectly placed strike - after a fine backheel by Paul Scharner - ensured a thoroughly deserved win but it was Odemwingie's fellow strikers who laid the platform.

Wolves began brightly and controlled possession early on, only for the Baggies to score with their first meaningful attack on eight minutes when Brunt powerfully side-footed the ball home from 12 yards after a great run and astute pull-back from debutant Jones.

Hodgson praises 'outstanding' Long

The hosts then started to get on top, with the loping, often languid-looking figure of Somen Tchoyi and the searing pace and direct running of strike partner Shane Long posing no end of problems.

But while Tchoyi often failed to deliver a telling final pass or shot, Long was a menace with an end product.

The summer signing from Reading saw one early effort comfortably saved by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and was also denied an easy strike on goal by a wonderful last-ditch tackle by Stephen Ward.

And it was his burst down the left flank that almost brought a second goal on the break when his cross found Scharner, who drifted an effort narrowly wide of the far post.

Wolves were also creating chances, Adam Hammill going agonisingly close early on with a well-directed effort that goalkeeper Ben Foster got fingertips to.

But the best opportunity fell to Kevin Doyle, whose point-blank shot was blocked by the scrambling Jonas Olsson following some fabulous work on the wing by the lively Matthew Jarvis and a fine initial save from Foster.

The entertainment continued after the break but a fiercely competitive game that was played in unseasonably warm conditions never threatened to simmer over.

The one potential flashpoint came moments into the second period when referee Chris Foy ignored strong shouts for a foul by Johnson on Long that, if given, would have seen West Brom play almost the entire second period against 10 men.

Long seemed to flick the ball beyond the big centre-half and would have been clear on goal but Foy was not certain.

The controversy would have been compounded had Johnson managed to convert a simple headed chance from Doyle's left-wing centre in the final quarter - but he nodded harmlessly wide.

West Brom made certain of the win in the final ten minutes when Odemwingie finished cleverly after Scharner cut in from the left, held the ball up, and found the striker with his inventive touch.

Odemwingie also blazed a shot over late on, but their second league win of the season - which takes them above Wolves in the table - was already secure.

West Brom manager Roy Hodgson:

"Shane Long's performance was as near fault-free as you will get. He was outstanding. He held the ball up, won balls in the air and both he and Somen Tchoyi caused enormous problems.

"It was a very important game and it was excellent to get our first home win of the season. It was also important to get our third clean sheet from eight games. That's more than the two for the whole of last season.

"If we keep three clean sheets every eight, we'll be fine."

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy:

"We started well but being the best team for seven minutes is no good if you then concede. It could have been avoided. The second goal knocked the stuffing out of us. We had enough chances but we weren't clinical.

Mick McCarthy rues Wolves' poor finishing

"In the game I thought we matched them but in both boxes they were better than us. They took their chances, we didn't. The chances that we had, we have to do better with. We wasted them, but the performance overall was okay.

"There is nothing wrong with the Wolves spirit, effort and endeavour despite five defeats on the bounce. Spirit, effort and endeavour is always there but we need to be better in the box."

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