Three first-half goals undo Baggies
ALBION proved largely the architects of their own downfall on a snowy Boxing Day as they succumbed to a 3-1 home to defeat to Manchester City.
The reigning Barclays Premier League champions were three goals to the good after 34 minutes at The Hawthorns and duly went on to equal a club-record ninth successive victory.
Ben Foster dropped Jesus Navas’ eighth-minute cross, allowing Fernando to convert from close range, before Yaya Toure fired home a quickfire second from the penalty spot after Joleon Lescott tripped David Silva.
The visitors added a third later in the first half, Silva slotting home at the end of a move which started with Lescott giving the ball away to Fernando.
Albion fashioned clear-cut chances of their own for Saido Berahino, twice, Craig Gardner, Silvestre Varela and Lescott among others.
And they finally got the goal they deserved in the 87th minute, club-record signing Brown Ideye seeing the ball come off the back of his head to register his first league goal for the club.
However, defeat ensured it was an afternoon to forget for the Baggies, who were unbeaten in their previous three Boxing Day fixtures.
Eight-goal striker Berahino and midfielder Yossouf Mulumbu returned to Albion’s XI, with the former having started the last three matches on the bench.
Foster came to Albion’s rescue in the seventh minute following a swift counter-attack from the visitors, using his feet to save reactively from James Milner.
But the England goalkeeper was central to City’s opener just 60 seconds later as he let slip Navas’ cross and Fernando was on hand to hook over his head from close range.
Albion’s afternoon went from bad to worse just minutes later as Lescott, playing against his former employers, tripped Silva in the penalty area and Toure slammed home the resulting spot-kick.
Berahino snatched at a shot before Mulumbu tested Joe Hart as the Baggies looked for a route back into the game.
But the encounter was over as a contest before long as Lescott gave the ball away to Fernando in the middle of the park, he broke and played in Navas, who fed Silva and he coolly slotted home.
Albion immediately worked two clear-cut openings but Gardner could only fire straight at Hart before Berahino pulled an effort wide.
Varela sent a great chance off target from eight yards at the start of the second period before James Morrison tested Hart from distance.
Alan Irvine turned to Ideye, Chris Brunt and Cristian Gamboa off the bench midway through a second period which Albion largely dominated.
And after Sessegnon saw his effort deflected wide for a late corner, it was left for Ideye to rescue at least some satisfaction from an otherwise disappointing afternoon.
Albion: Foster, Wisdom, Lescott, McAuley, Pocognoli (Gamboa 66’), Mulumbu, Gardner (Brunt 66’), Morrison, Varela (Ideye 66’), Sessegnon, Berahino.
Subs: Myhill, Dawson, Baird, Yacob.
GOAL: Ideye (87')
Man City: Hart, Sagna, Mangala, Demichelis, Clichy, Fernando, Toure, Fernandinho (69’), Navas, Silva (Kolarov 63’), Nasri (Lampard 75’), Milner.
Subs: Caballero, Boyata, Zabaleta, Jovetic.
GOALS: Fernando (8’), Toure pen (13’), Silva (34’)
BOOKED: Fernando (84’)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Durham)
Albion star man: Stephane Sessegnon