Davies and Hernandez sentence Baggies to second home defeat
ALBION’S goalscoring problems continued as they were undone by strikes in each half.
The Baggies spent a large portion of this encounter camped in Swansea’s half but struggled to trouble City keeper Michel Vorm.
Ben Davies opened the scoring with a fine 23rd-minute volley and the Swans rubberstamped their first win of the season seven minutes from time when Pablo Hernandez polished off a counter-attack.
The result left the Baggies still awaiting their first league goal of the season
Scott Sinclair was handed his Barclays Premier League debut for the Baggies against his former club as Steve Clarke rang three changes from last weekend’s goalless draw at Everton.
Nicolas Anelka and Boaz Myhill also came into the XI, with benched duo Markus Rosenberg and Graham Dorrans, plus the injured Ben Foster, making way.
Michael Laudrup made one change from the Swans’ defeat at Tottenham seven days earlier. Jose Canas replaced Jonathan De Guzman.
There was an open feel to the game from the first whistle and Swansea recorded the first effort at goal in the third minute, with Jonjo Shelvey firing over from an inviting 20-yard free-kick.
Youssouf Mulumbu put Anelka in behind the Swans defence two minutes later and Shane Long was denied a simple tap-in when Vorm cut out the Frenchman’s low cross at his near post.
Swansea created another shooting opportunity in the seventh minute but Miguel Michu shot harmlessly over from 20 yards from Davies’ tee up.
Michu turned provider a minute later and this time Wayne Routledge fired straight at Myhill from 18 yards.
Albion’s forward play had more cut and thrust than in their previous home game against Southampton and Anelka got in behind again on 12. Ashley Williams read the striker’s pull-back only to mis-kick straight to Billy Jones, but the Swansea skipper made up for his error by blocking the right-back’s close-range shot.
The Baggies had a great chance to open the scoring on 17 when Sinclair’s free-kick found Morrison unmarked six yards out. However, the Scotland international failed to hit the target, with his header bouncing off team-mate Long before the visitors cleared.
Swansea created the next opening – and snatched a 23rd-minute lead. Hernandez’s first cross was cut out by Claudio Yacob but he whipped the rebound back over and Davies ghosted in unmarked to blast an unstoppable 12-yard volley past Myhill.
Albion regrouped and almost equalised eight minutes later. After Morrison had won a loose ball, Long slipped Anelka through and the former Chelsea man fired inches past the far post from just inside the box.
The Baggies were building momentum and Sinclair went close on 35 when his back-heel from Yacob’s long-range shot crept just wide.
The hosts had enjoyed plenty of possession around the Swans' penalty box during the first half but continually struggled to break through the yellow-and-purple defensive wall.
And it was the Welsh side who recorded the final shot of the half, with Wilfred Bony firing straight at Myhill from 20 yards.
Clarke rang a change at half-time, replacing the injured Morrison with Dorrans.
After Myhill was forced to take evasive action to dispossess Routledge, normal service was resumed, with Albion camped in the Swansea half, prodding and probing for an opening.
There was certainly no lack of effort on the Baggies’ part and a long period of keep-ball ended with Williams blocking Mulumbu’s shot just inside the box.
Swansea rallied briefly but the Baggies' defence comfortably dealt with a succession of set-pieces pumped into their box.
Albion won a free-kick of their own on 69 but Yacob’s header from Dorrans’ delivery was easily gobbled up by Vorm.
There was a big moment on 70 when Hernandez played Routledge clean through. The former Villa ace looked certain to score but dallied too long, enabling Gareth McAuley to make a last-ditch challenge and his final shot crept straight into Myhill’s arms.
Back came Albion and McAuley flashed a header just over from Dorrans’ free-kick.
Clarke made his final throw of the dice on 75, replacing Yacob and Sinclair with Rosenberg and Saido Berahino, who was making his Premier League debut.
With Albion pushing forward, there was an increasing danger they would get caught on the counter-attack and Hernandez almost added a second when he cut inside from Michu’s through-ball before firing against the bar.
However, it WAS game over a minute later. After Michu’s low cross was cut out by Jonas Olsson, the striker pounced on the rebound to tee up Hernandez, who slotted home from ten yards.
ALBION (4-3-3): Myhill; Jones, McAuley, Olsson (c), Ridgewell; Mulumbu, Morrison (Dorrans HT), Yacob (Rosenberg 75); Long, Anelka, Sinclair (Berahino 75). Subs not used: L Daniels (gk), Lugano, Dawson, Brunt.
SWANSEA (4-3-3): Vorm; Rangel, Flores, Williams (c), Davies; Hernandez, Canas, Shelvey, Routledge (Pozuelo 71); Michu, Bony (De Guzman 66). Subs not used: Tremmel (gk), Amat, Britton, Richards, Lamah.
GOALS: SWANSEA – Davies (23), Hernandez (83).
BOOKINGS: ALBION – McAuley (foul 29), Yacob (foul 38), Dorrans (foul 54), Olsson (foul 65). SWANSEA – Michu (unsporting behaviour 61), Rangel (encroaching 70), Pozuelo (foul 76).
REFEREE: M Dean (Wirral).
ALBION STARMAN: Nicolas Anelka.