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16:58 28th November 2009

'FOUR-SOME' Albion blitzed Sheffield Wednesday to secure a fourth successive win - their best league run of the season.

Simon Cox made it five goals in four games with a seven-minute double to put Albion 2-0 up on the half-hour mark.

Jerome Thomas joined the party eight minutes later with his fifth of the campaign.

And top scorer Chris Brunt put the icing on the cake back on his old stomping ground with his sixth strike this term five minutes from time.

That made it an incredible 15 goals in four matches - and it could have been more for Roberto Di Matteo's men as further chances went begging either side of the break.

Albion were as impressive as the scoreline suggests and a seventh league clean sheet of the season completed an outstanding day at the office.

Di Matteo made one enforced change as Marek Cech slotted in at left-back in place of the injured Joe Mattock (foot).

Within 20 seconds of kick-off, Scott Carson was forced into action as he dropped to his right to hold Marcus Tudgay's 20-yard strike.

It was a straight-forward save - and so proved the rest of the former Owls loanee's afternoon.

The Baggies first threatened in the fifth minute when Cox prodded Brunt's flick-on through to strike partner Luke Moore, who swivelled sharply and forced Lee Grant into a flying save.

From the resultant flag-kick, Brunt played a short-corner with Cox before unleasing a skidding shot from the right-hand side of the box which Grant just managed to parry after it fizzed through a crowd of players.

Albion looked comfortable and converted their long spells of possession into a 23rd-minute lead.

Cox lost his marker at the back post to volley home Graham Dorrans' left-wing corner from close range.

Moments later, the ball broke to Gonzalo Jara and his fizzing volley was cleared in the six-yard box by Richard Hinds.

Chile international Jara then pinged a 40-yard diagonal ball to Moore who cut inside before firing in a low shot which Grant comfortably held.

At the other end, Tudgay teed up ex-Baggie James O'Connor but his 20-yard volley flew straight at Carson.

It was the Albion goalkeeper who started the move which led to his side's second goal on the half-hour mark.

Thomas gathered the Baggies skipper's long kick on the left-hand touchline and slid in Brunt down the line.

The Northern Ireland international crossed to the back post for Cox who controlled before firing home from six yards.

Three minutes later, Cox turned provider when he slotted Moore in on goal, only for the former England Under-21 international to blaze over from 15 yards.

Moore was working his socks off but his frustrating afternoon in front of goal continued when he failed to make contact with Gianni Zuiverloon's low centre in the 34th minute.

The visitors were denied what looked a stonewall penalty two minutes later when Cox robbed Lewis Buxton and was then brought down by the Owls centre-half.

Thomas picked up the loose ball and saw his strike from a tight angle blocked at the near post by Grant.

Albion were now on the rampage and effectively wrapped up the points seven minutes before the break.

Dorrans did well to manoeuvre out of a tight position in the left-back position before spraying a 50-yard ball down the line for Thomas.

The former Charlton winger exchanged a neat one-two with Cox before finding the bottom right-hand corner of the net with a delightful curling finish from 12 yards.

The third goal forced Wednesday boss Brian Laws to make a change, with Mark Beevers coming on for skipper Tommy Spurr.

The Owls boss made another change at the break as new loan signing Tom Soares came on for Jermaine Johnson.

Jara gifted possession to O'Connor three minutes after the restart but saw his attempted 20-yard chip easily dealt with by Carson.

The otherwise rock-solid Jonas Olsson was breathing a sigh of relief in the 54th minute when he felled Tudgay and saw referee Eddie Ilderton point to the penalty spot.

Fortunately for the giant Swede, the assistant referee already had his flag up for offside and the Tyne & Wear official awarded an Albion free-kick.

Laws made his final change in the 54th minute as Tudgay made way for Luke Varney.

Two minutes later, Dorrans bravely blocked O'Connor's strike on the edge of the area and the ball sprung forward to Moore just inside the Wednesday half.

The ex-Villa man brushed aside Frank Simek and ran at Hinds before drilling a 20-yard shot inches past the right-hand post.

Albion remained in complete control and Dorrans slid Thomas in behind the Sheffield defence in the 59th minute.

The ex-Arsenal ace skipped to the by-line and cut the ball back, only for Michael Gray to just pip Moore and clear.

Thomas made way for Youssouf Mulumbu in the 67th minute and Dorrans was switched to the left wing.

Albion kept pressing for a fourth and Cech teed up Dorrans, but his 25-yard drive flew straight into Grant's arms.

A brilliant piece of individual skill by Cox saw him spin Hinds in the 72nd minute, only for the ex-Swindon striker to curl his hat-trick chance wide of the far post from an awkward angle.

Nine minutes from time, Brunt picked out Cox on the edge of the area and the pint-sized forward beat Buxton before firing a left-foot shot just over the bar.

Albion finally bagged a deserved fourth five minutes from time.

Sub Chris Wood did well to look up and pick out Brunt and the winger coolly brought the ball down before despatching a right-foot finish into the far corner.

Brunt was roundly applauded by the Wednesday fans for not celebrating - just as he promised if he scored - on his old stomping ground.

The Baggies were even afforded the luxury of bringing on 16-year-old midfielder George Thorne, who replaced Cox in the 88th minute.

The England Under-17 international showed some neat touches as he became the youngest Albion player to make his league debut since Bobby Hope in 1960.

SHEFF WED (4-4-2): Grant; Simek, Hinds, Buxton, Spurr (Beevers 39); Gray, Potter, O'Connor, Johnson (Soares HT); Clarke, Tudgay (Varney 54). Subs not used: O'Donnell (gk), McAllister, Esajas, Feeney.

ALBION (4-4-2): Carson; Zuiverloon, Meite, Olsson, Cech; Brunt, Dorrans, Jara, Thomas (Mulumbu 67); Moore (Wood 76), Cox (Thorne 88). Subs not used: Kiely (gk), Bednar, Martis, Reid.

GOALS: ALBION - Cox (23, 30), Thomas (38), Brunt (85).

BOOKINGS: SHEFFIELD WED - Potter (foul 15), Gray (foul 24). ALBION - Brunt (foul 90).

REFEREE: E Ilderton (Tyne & Wear).



    Data provided by Press Association


    For the first 50 years of their existence, England played their home matches all around the country.