The Baggies have now claimed seven points from their opening three games, registering their best ever start to a Premier League campaign.
The win owed much to the tactics of their burgeoning boss Steve Clarke. The Baggies manager set his team up to stifle Everton’s free-flowing attacking football and it worked.
The Scot also had the nous to bring on Peter Odemwingie when his team were struggling to penetrate in the final third and the Nigerian made a telling impact.
Odemwingie entered the fray in the 58th minute and within seven minutes of his arrival he had laid on the opening goal for Shane Long.
Buoyed by the opener WBA pushed on and Gareth McAuley beat Tim Howard to Chris Brunt’s corner to nod in the second and secure all the three points.
It was Everton who started the better, confidently passing the ball from back to front, with Steven Pienaar at the heart of everything.
But for all their huff and puff the away side could not find a way through WBA’s tightly knit defence.
The Baggies were happy to sit back and get bodies behind the ball, making themselves compact and hard to breakdown.
When Everton did manage to carve out an opportunity, Nikica Jelavic was unable to punish the hosts for affording him room in the box. The Croatian wasted a number of chances with his head.
Once WBA settled into the game they got the ball on the deck and started to threaten and should have taken the lead on the half hour mark.
Liam Ridgewell whipped in a cross from the left wing, finding an unmarked Long in the box, but the Republic of Ireland international could only send his header crashing against the crossbar.
Moments later Everton almost took the lead. A deep cross to the back post from Tony Hibbert was headed just over by Marouane Fellaini.
On the cusp of half-time Tim Howard denied WBA the opening goal. James Morrison galloped through the visitors’ defence, skipping past the sliding body of Sylvain Distin and thumped a shot goalwards.
The ball was heading for the roof of the net, before Howard flung up a hand and repelled the effort.
The hosts returned from the interval full of running and energy, but lacked the guile to yield a goal and were almost punished for a lapse in concentration, when Fellaini was left unmarked in the box. The Belgium international sent a shot flying into the stands with only Ben Foster to beat.
Fellaini was left to rue his miss as WBA raced up the other end and took the lead. Odemwingie burst down the left wing and picked out Long with a tempting cross and this time the Irishman made no mistake, nipping in ahead of Distin to sweep the ball past Howard.
WBA continued to grow in strength as Everton struggled to match the Baggies’ fitness levels.
Their hard work was rewarded in the 82nd minute with a second goal. Youssuf Mulumbu stung the hands of Howard with a fierce drive from 25 yards and from the resulting corner McAuley rose above Everton’s flapping goalkeeper to double his side’s advantage.
David Moyes men abandoned their passing game to go direct, but their long balls played into the hands of McAuley and Jonas Olsson who dominated the skies to help WBA see out the win.
- Tim Howard
- Peter Odemwingie