Saido Berahino scored his sixth goal in 10 games to make sure new West Brom manager Tony Pulis got off to a winning start in the Premiership.
A week on from scoring four against Gateshead, the England striker powered a free kick through a wall of Hull players to grab the spoils in a game of few chances which looked for long periods as if it would end in stalemate.
After what was far from a convincing performance from the Baggies, Pulis acknowledged that despite the three points, a tough task lay ahead.
“People need to realise how tough this is. We are in a real dog fight to the end of the season and everyone at this club needs to pull together. Take a look at the Championship. It’s full of loads of former Premier league teams who got complacent."
The cameras were focused closely on Pulis as he stood in his technical area ready to wave what the home fans hoped would be a magic wand to transform their stuttering fortunes. But after a bright start the Albion players slipped back into their old slow-build ways and chances were few and far between; the best one falling to £10 million striker Brown Ideye who fired wide from 12 yards out on 41 minutes when one-on-one with Hull keeper Alan McGregor.
The second half began at a frantic pace with both teams pushing for the win but gradually the early promise faded. The loss of strikers Nikica Jelavic and Abel Hernandez did not help the Tigers’ cause but substitute Tom Ince looked lively and should have done better with a good cross from the left which he could only head against Baggies defender Gareth McAuley. The rebound fell to Ahmed Elmohamadi but his shot was blocked.
In the 77th minute defender Elmohamadi chased a Craig Gardner pass towards his own goal and under pressure he touched the ball back into the hands of his advancing keeper Alan McGregor and referee Neil Swarbrick immediately gave an indirect free kick 12 yards out. Substitute Victor Anichebe touched the ball to his right and despite eight Hull defenders in the wall, Berahino managed to find a gap and hit the back of the net. This time his celebration was much more jubilant than in the previous game. Speculation still surrounds the striker’s future with rumours of a possible move to Liverpool despite West Brom receiving no official bids.
After the match, Hull manager Steve Bruce said he was disappointed to have taken nothing from the game. “It was frustrating to lose the game with a misunderstanding like we have. It was cruel on us but you make mistakes at this level which we made today which was one of those comical ones. It’s the split second when there is a lack of communication and we have been punished for it. Before they scored the game had 0 - 0 written all over it.”
When questioned about his prospects of bringing in new players in the transfer market Baggies boss Pulis said he would like to secure some new signings but realised he only had a short time in which to do it before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
“I would like to bring in players of the right calibre but my biggest worry is that I haven’t got time to get those players in.”