Saturday, 26 April 2014

West Bromwich Albion 1-0 West Ham United match report Saturday 26th April 2014

Pepe Mel recorded his first home victory in charge of West Bromwich Albion to ease his team's relegation worries in front of a sell-out crowd at the Hawthorns.

England under-21 striker Saido Berahino put a huge smile on his manager's face when he tapped in from two yards out. The single goal being enough to defeat a lacklustre West Ham side who's travelling fans  called for boss Sam Allardyce to go.
The win means that Mel's team now has 36 points and sit 15th in the table, five points clear of Fulham in 18th with three games remaining.
The Hammers were the quickest out of the blocks  with the main threat coming on the left from winger Matt Jarvis who whipped in numerous crosses none of which were converted by their main striker Andy Carroll.
The home team finally settled and made the breakthrough on 10 minutes  when Stephane Sessegnon won the ball in the centre of the pitch. The midfielder slipped a fine pass to Morgan Amalfitano on the right hand side and the Frenchman delivered a low, hard cross across the six yard box where Berahino got in front of his marker to score from close range.
The goal stunned The Hammers into life and they created numerous opportunities, the best falling to Andy Carroll. A cross from the edge of the penalty area on the left hand side by Stewart Downing was met by the England striker but his header was well saved  by keeper Ben Foster diving to his right.

In their last two home games West Brom had leads of 2-0 and 3-0 and still finished with draws. So the longer the game went on the more the Baggies fans wondered if their team could hold on  for a vital win. West Brom created numerous chances but Berahino and Sessegnon were guilty of being wasteful.
Berahino had two golden edged opportunities to increase his side's lead. Sessegnon laid in a pass from the penalty spot to Berahino arriving at the left hand side of the six yard box but the young striker got his feet mixed up and was only able to scramble the ball back to Sessegnon who again fed him only for keeper Adrian to save. The Spaniard again thwarted him a few moments later when he saved his third effort.
The only response the away team could muster was a corner taken from the left hand side which was met by Andy Carroll but his free header hit the bar when it looked easier to score. The home team defended strongly for the rest of the game and were raucously cheered off at the end by thousands of relieved home fans.
Despite being relatively safe with 37 points, West Ham didn't at all look the team were before Christmas when they kept a string of clean sheets. Throughout the game away fans displayed a sign that said "Big Sam out, killing WHU" clearly voicing their opinions of the way their team plays football and of manager Sam Allardyce's tactics.

After the game the Hammers' boss said he wasn't concerned about the criticism but admitted it was he as manager who was responsible for getting things right.

"I can understand the fans voicing their opinions. We haven't won in four games and we need to get more clinical in front of goal as we are not converting our chances."

Pepe Mel said he was delighted to finally get his first win as West Brom manager and said one more win should be enough to ensure West Brom play Premier League football next season. When pressed on whether he would be in charge of The Baggies next year, the Spaniard said he would like to stay in the hot seat at The Hawthorns.

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