Peter Odemwingie’s third minute strike helped West Bromwich Albion pick up their first Premier League points of the season with a hard fought 1-0 victory over newly promoted Norwich City.
Making his first appearance of the campaign, Odemwingie continued where he left off last season, taking full advantage of some indecisive defending by Norwich defender Ritchie de Laet to open his account for the season.
Despite the early setback the home side responded promisingly, dominating possession for the majority of the first-half with full-back Marc Tierney getting forward down the left hand side to good effect. For all their endeavour, however, they rarely troubled Ben Foster in the West Brom goal as the home side looked short of craft and invention in the final third.
Norwich’s opponents, meanwhile, continued to look menacing on the counter-attack, Odemwingie, Shane Long and Jerome Thomas causing countless problems for the Norwich defence with their blistering pace and intelligent movement.
The second-half began in a similar fashion to which the first ended. Norwich once again dictated proceedings without looking like finding a leveller. Wes Hoolahan’s introduction offered the home fans renewed hope, the 29-year-old attacking midfielder cleverly exploiting space in the centre of midfield to set up attacks.
For all they impressed in the opening 45 minutes, the Baggies’ strike force of Long and Odemwingie were becoming increasingly isolated as their side struggled to maintain possession. Just as the Canaries began to build up a head of steam, Odemwingie was presented with a glorious opportunity to double his tally and all but seal the three points from the penalty spot.
Referee Mark Halsey controversially awarded the spot kick after Steven Reid went down under the challenge of Norwich substitute Steve Morison, a decision that in hindsight seemed rather harsh on the hosts.
However, inexperienced goalkeeper Declan Rudd put a nervy full Premier League debut behind him to deny the Nigerian striker with a superb stop which gave his side a glimmer of hope.
His save proved to be in vain though, with Steve Morison going closest to grabbing a share of the spoils late on, heading wide after a rare lapse in concentration from central defensive pairing Jonas Olsson and Gabriel Tamas, who defended admirably throughout the 90 minutes.
Mark Halsey’s final whistle followed minutes later and secured the Baggies their first victory of the new season, moving out of the bottom three and up to 12th as a result.
On the other hand, Norwich will have to wait a bit longer until they can record their first victory since returning to the top flight and can ill afford to drop many more points to fellow relegation rivals at Carrow Road in their quest to beat the drop.
Norwich City (4-4-2):Rudd; Naughton, Barnett, Delaet, Tierney; Bennett, Crofts, Johnson, Surman (Hoolahan 62); Martin (Vaughan 70), Holt (Morison 70)
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2):Foster; Reid, Olsson, Tamas, Shorey; Dorrans (Morrison 69), Scharner, Mulumbu, Thomas (Brunt 84); Long (Tchoyi 88), Odemwingie
Did you know… West Brom recorded their first clean sheet away from home in the Premier League for 20 games, a run stretching back over two years to the 24th May 2009 when they drew 0-0 with Blackburn Rovers.