Albion wrap up 2015 on winning note
- Captain Fletcher heads home winner (78)
- His second goal in Albion colours
- Baggies dominate with 25 shots and 18 corners
- Albion star man: Victor Anichebe
- Attendance: 26,313
CAPTAIN Darren Fletcher claimed his first goal of the season to give the Baggies a late but hugely deserved 1-0 victory over Newcastle.
Fletcher, with his second goal for the club, struck from a Claudio Yacob cross in the 78th minute of a thrills-and-spills contest which electrified The Hawthorns from start to finish.
But there was no doubting the merit of Albion’s victory after one of their most vibrant performances of the season which had among its highlights a superb first league game of the campaign from Victor Anichebe.
Prior to kick-off The Hawthorns joined together in a minute's applause for Don Howe, one of the club's all-time greats, who sadly passed away last week.
When the action got underway, at times Albion pounded the Newcastle goal, which led a charmed life, while also benefitting from some determined blocks and defending from the visitors.
And Anichebe was a focal point for much of it, beginning the game with a deluge of shots on target which Newcastle were at full stretch to survive.
James Morrison also came close twice although Albion were grateful for the tackle of the game from Gareth McAuley to keep out Moussa Sissoko on the counter attack.
It continued in that vein for the second half, with Albion surviving a set-piece scare when Paul Dummett hit the bar and Fabricio Coloccini a post in a 55th-minute scramble - while Anichebe could not believe his luck with a 75th-minute header which bounced up on to the woodwork.
Albion kept powering forward and received their due reward with Fletcher’s header, which Newcastle’s debut-making keeper Karl Darlow could not hold.
Albion’s biggest worries will be reserved for the casualty list after Jonas Olsson limped out early on and, moments after being denied a second Albion goal by Darlow’s save, Anichebe also appeared to suffer a muscle strain.
Albion: Myhill; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson (Gardner 17), Evans; Sessegnon, Fletcher, Yacob, Brunt; Morrison (Berahino 70); Anichebe (Lambert, 87).
Subs: Lindegaard, Chester, Gamboa, McManaman.
Newcastle: Darlow; Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett; Sissoko, Anita (Tiote 27)), Colback (Thauvin 86), Wijnaldum; Perez (De Jong 72), Mitrovic.
Subs: Elliot, Gouffran, Lascelles, Mbabu
Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)