Premier League - Odemwingie gets Baggies off the mark
Peter Odemwingie scored the quickest goal of the Premier League season but later had a penalty saved as West Brom secured their first victory of the season with a 1-0 win at Norwich City.
Odemwingie exploited a poor piece of defending from Ritchie De Laet to give the Baggies the lead after only three minutes at Carrow Road. However, the Nigerian was denied from 12 yards by a fine save from Declan Rudd after Steve Morison was harshly penalised for a foul on Steven Reid with 15 minutes remaining.
Morison was then guilty of missing a good chance late on as Norwich's winless run continued. The Canaries now have two points from their opening four games, while West Brom are off the mark following three consecutive defeats at the start of the season.
The red card shown to John Ruddy prior to the international break forced Norwich to field 20-year-old Rudd in goal, with Paul Lambert neglecting to name a substitute keeper on the bench. Inside three minutes of his full Premier League debut, Rudd had already been exposed.
Though ostensibly he appeared to play his part in a failure of communication with De Laet, the blame belonged to his team-mate as the defender failed to deal adequately with a pass over the top, nodding the ball meekly towards Rudd and allowing Odemwingie to nip in ahead of the keeper and produce a neat finish into the far corner.
The Baggies had not won an away game in six months and Norwich, looking for their first victory of the season, opened up the visiting defence after nine minutes, only for Grant Holt to turn the ball wide after Ben Foster stuck a boot out to block a cross from Andrew Surman.
Norwich, abandoning the compact 5-3-2 formation employed for their previous game at Stamford Bridge, enjoyed some success in wide positions, with a dangerous Marc Tierney cross bouncing into the path of Elliott Bennett, who turned his shot over the bar 12 yards from goal.
However, it was the Baggies who possessed the greater threat. Youssouf Mulumbu drilled one shot wide before piercing the Norwich defence with a pass to find Odemwingie, who really should have scored but saw his low effort blocked by the legs of Rudd.
The young keeper could do little when a rasping 25-yard drive from Graham Dorrans cannoned off the post after 40 minutes and appeared to have injured himself when taking desperate action to prevent Shane Long from tapping home after he spilled another Dorrans effort moments later. However, Rudd was okay to return for the second half.
Norwich emerged with purpose and after 57 minutes saw a ferocious drive from Bradley Johnson fly only inches over the bar after the ball was laid off to the midfielder by Chris Martin. West Brom responded when Jerome Thomas curled a decent effort off target but it was the Canaries who continued to press, with Andrew Crofts driving wide after a neat pass from substitute Wes Hoolahan.
With 20 minutes remaining, Lambert oversaw a complete overhaul of his attack as James Vaughan and Morison replace Holt and Martin. If the latter substitute was hoping to make a quick impact, he did so, though not in the way he intended.
When James Morrison swung in a free-kick, Morison bumped into the back of Steven Reid, who fell sprawling to the ground. Referee Mark Halsey awarded a very soft penalty but Rudd produced a fine save as he threw himself to his right to deny Odemwingie from 12 yards.
Norwich were given extra vigour by Odemwingie's failure to convert and they created a succession of chances in the closing stages. Perhaps the best fell to Morison, who somehow headed wide from eight yards out when perfectly placed to meet a cross from the left.
Vaughan sustained a bloodied mouth when being caught by the elbow of Gabriel Tamas and Morison was hauled to the floor by his head by Reid as West Brom did everything in their power to keep a clean sheet. They did so, but tempers spilled over after referee Halsey blew the final whistle.