Lukaku and Mirallas on target
ALBION were punished for two defensive errors as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at home to Everton upon resumption of Barclays Premier League matters after the international break.
The Hawthorns encounter was less than two minutes old when Jonas Olsson’s miscued clearance fell straight to Romelu Lukaku just inside the penalty area.
The former Baggies loanee made no mistake with his well-taken curling finish, subsequently refusing to celebrate and in turn receiving the warm applause of the home faithful.
Albion bossed possession and dominated proceedings from then onwards albeit without finding the required killer instinct in attack, and they were punished in the 66th minute.
Kevin Mirallas embarked on a surging run and drilled a low effort goalwards from just outside the penalty area which squirmed under the body of goalkeeper Ben Foster.
It was enough to ensure Albion head coach Alan Irvine tasted defeat against the club with whom he enjoyed three previous spells as Academy manager, assistant boss and player.
The Baggies now head to Tottenham next weekend in search of their first league victory of the campaign.
Brown Ideye made his home league bow, starting in attack alongside Saido Berahino as the Baggies lined up in a 4-4-2 formation.
But it was Lukaku who made his mark within the opening stages, capitalising on a poor clearance from Olsson to curl an effort beyond the outstretched Foster.
Berahino saw an effort deflected over the crossbar by a last-ditch challenge from John Stones, before Craig Gardner drilled off target with a long-range free-kick.
Albion bossed play in the opening half-hour but could not find the cutting edge required to draw level, captain Chris Brunt firing into the side-netting.
Mirallas was narrowly over the top at the other end but it was the visitors who held a slender lead going into the break.
Steven Naismith blew a gilt-edged chance to double the visitors’ advantage six minutes after the restart, blazing over after Foster had produced a superb one-handed save to parry Lukaku’s low drive.
But it was Albion who, from then onwards, again continued to press matters.
Yet a swift counter-attack in the 66th minute saw the Toffees double their lead as Mirallas’ hopeful effort found its way under Foster.
The England goalkeeper was at his best 12 minutes from time to keep out Leon Osman’s deflected effort, and it was he who denied the Everton substitute once again in the closing stages with a superb stop.
And despite Albion sub Georgios Samaras testing Tim Howard in injury time, it was the visitors who ran out victors.
Albion: Foster, Wisdom, Olsson, Dawson, Pocognoli (Gamboa 77’), Morrison, Gardner, Brunt (Blanco 70’), Dorrans, Berahino, Ideye (Samaras 70’).
Subs: Daniels (gk), Baird, Yacob, McAuley.
BOOKED: Gardner (dissent 26’), Wisdom (foul 90')
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Baines, Jagielka, Stones, Barry, McCarthy, Mirallas, Naismith, McGeady (Besic 88’), Lukaku (Osman 68’).
Subs: Robles, Alcaraz, Garbutt, Gibson, Atsu.
GOALS: Lukaku (2’), Mirallas (66’)
BOOKED: McCarthy (foul 52’), Naismith (foul 81'), Besic (foul 90+1')
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)