Premier League
West BromWest Bromwich Albion1NewcastleNewcastle United0

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Newcastle United

By Aimee LewisBBC Sport
Darren Fletcher scores
The win is just West Brom's fourth in their last 14 league matches at home

West Brom enjoyed their first league win in six games to ease their relegation fears but deepen Newcastle's worries at the bottom of the table.

Both teams hit the crossbar, with Paul Dummett's header ricocheting off the woodwork for Newcastle and Victor Anichebe going close for the hosts.

Just as a draw seemed inevitable, Darren Fletcher timed his run perfectly to head home Claudio Yacob's cross.

But it was poor goalkeeping as Karl Darlow should have done better.

Darlow will look back on his Premier League debut with mixed emotions. He was a late inclusion in Steve McClaren's line up as regular goalkeeper Rob Elliot was withdrawn before kick-off because of illness.

The 25-year-old, whose only previous appearance for the Magpies was in the Capital One Cup against Northampton, was uncertain under the high ball throughout and should have held on to Fletcher's header, rather than allowing it to slip through his hands with 12 minutes remaining.

It will leave United fans wondering whether their team, who remain in the bottom three, two points adrift of safety, would have earned a point had someone of Elliot's experience been on the pitch.

Fletcher stops the 'concertina effect'

Ironically, Darlow's best contribution came after conceding, acrobatically diving towards his near post to stop substitute Saido Berahino's goal-bound effort.

Victor Anichebe
The graphic illustrates Victor Anichebe's successful passes during the match

Baggies boss Tony Pulis had warned of a "concertina" effect after two successive defeats against two of the teams below them - Bournemouth and Swansea - but the alarm bells will have dimmed a little after this hard-earned win which moves them six points off the relegation zone.

Despite his team dominating possession and looking the stronger side in the second half, it looked as if the Baggies' poor home form would continue - they had only earned eight points at The Hawthorns prior to this match - until Fletcher struck for his 20th league goal.

Scoring has been a problem for Pulis' men of late, but Victor Anichebe - making his first start of the season - added ballast to West Brom's forward line and was a nuisance and a reliable outlet.

His performance was only missing a goal, the crossbar preventing him from heading home from a corner. In the first half, Dummett also blocked Anichebe's powerful effort and the industrious striker received a deserved ovation from the home fans as he hobbled off injured before full-time.

Penalty appeals and the woodwork

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren said it had been a tough three days for his team, who have now endured two narrow defeats over the Christmas period.

Magpies denied "certain penalty" - Newcastle boss McClaren

But the Magpies' spirit did not appear to be damaged by the Boxing Day defeat which saw Everton score with the last kick of the ball.

McClaren's men courageously defended against West Brom's direct approach (the Baggies had 17 corners and 22 shots on goal), with Fabricio Coloccini particularly impressive.

The ubiquitous Newcastle captain cleared James Morrison's effort off the line in the opening minutes and had an improvised backheel - after Dummett's header had struck the crossbar - saved by Boaz Myhill.

McClaren said his team should have had a second-half penalty when the score was goalless and the evidence supports his claim, as Jonny Evans appeared to grab Aleksandar Mitrovic around the midriff as the striker aimed to shoot from six yards.

Man of the match - Victor Anichebe

Victor Anichebe
Victor Anichebe may not have scored but his presence up front caused Newcastle problems and his ability to hold the ball gave West Brom's midfielders time to surge forward. On that form, Baggies fans will hope his injury is not too serious.

What the managers said

West Brom manager Tony Pulis: "We deserved the victory. It was a good, open game. The first 10 minutes we could have been 3-0 up, they defended stoutly but thank goodness the dam did burst in the end.

We fully deserved the win - West Brom boss Pulis

"They were dangerous on the counter and we had to defend the set-plays well, but I don't think there's any argument that we should have won the game. The disappointing thing again is that we should have scored more goals.

"Victor Anichebe on his day is unplayable. He's got everything you'd want from a centre forward."

Newcastle boss Steve McClaren: "We've had a tough three days and I feel so sorry for the lads. After so much effort and attitude, to stand toe to toe with West Brom, dealing with all the crosses and the balls in the box, I thought we did ever so well.

"But the game hinged on two things. It was a certain penalty. It's unbelievable. It doesn't help us, it's cost us the chance to get the first goal, which is all-important in this kind of game.

"We're all unhappy with the goal we conceded. We coped with everything and I don't think Darren Fletcher will say it was a bullet header but that's football. Decisions at each end have cost us but we'll battle on."

The stats you need to know

  • This was only the third time in 29 league games that Newcastle had failed to score against West Brom.
  • The Magpies have failed to score in 10 of their last 15 Premier League away games.
  • WBA had 22 shots, which is 12% of their entire total in the Premier League this season.
  • West Brom's 22 shots are seven more than they have managed in any other Premier League game this season.
  • After this game Newcastle now have the fewest shots in the Premier League this season (171, overtaken by WBA on 177)
  • Newcastle managed only one shot on target in each half.
  • WBA kept their first clean sheet since October 24 (vs Norwich), ending a run of eight without one.

What next?

West Brom will be glad of ending their winless run before hosting in-form Stoke on 2 January and travelling to Stamford Bridge to face fellow strugglers Chelsea on 13 January. Meanwhile, Newcastle's Premier League fixture list does not get any easier as their next two league opponents are Arsenal (away on 2 January) and Manchester United (home on 12 January).


West Brom

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 13Myhill
  • 25Dawson
  • 23McAuley
  • 3OlssonSubstituted forGardnerat 18'minutes
  • 6Evans
  • 29Sessegnon
  • 24Fletcher
  • 5Yacob
  • 11Brunt
  • 7MorrisonSubstituted forBerahinoat 70'minutes
  • 10AnichebeSubstituted forLambertat 88'minutes


  • 4Chester
  • 8Gardner
  • 16Gamboa
  • 17Lambert
  • 18Berahino
  • 19McManaman
  • 21Lindegaard


Formation 4-4-2

  • 26Darlow
  • 22Janmaat
  • 18Mbemba
  • 2Coloccini
  • 3Dummett
  • 7Sissoko
  • 8AnitaSubstituted forTiotéat 27'minutes
  • 4ColbackSubstituted forThauvinat 86'minutes
  • 5Wijnaldum
  • 17PérezSubstituted forde Jongat 72'minutes
  • 45Mitrovic


  • 10de Jong
  • 11Gouffran
  • 15Lascelles
  • 20Thauvin
  • 21Elliot
  • 24Tioté
  • 43Mbabu
Mike Jones

Match Stats

Home TeamWest BromAway TeamNewcastle
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Newcastle United 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Newcastle United 0.

  3. Post update

    Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Chancel Mbemba.

  4. Post update

    Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Paul Dummett (Newcastle United).

  6. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  7. Post update

    Delay in match Moussa Sissoko (Newcastle United) because of an injury.

  8. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) header from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Stéphane Sessegnon with a cross.

  9. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Rickie Lambert replaces Victor Anichebe because of an injury.

  11. Post update

    Delay in match Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) because of an injury.

  12. Post update

    Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Karl Darlow.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Stéphane Sessegnon.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion).

  15. Post update

    Florian Thauvin (Newcastle United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Newcastle United. Florian Thauvin replaces Jack Colback.

  17. Post update

    Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Fabricio Coloccini (Newcastle United).

  19. Post update

    Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Karl Darlow.

  20. Post update

    Attempt saved. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jonny Evans with a through ball.