Date: 9th March 2010 at 9:54pm
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Wednesday failed to pull themselves out of the Championship’s bottom three as Robert Koren’s superb strike ten minutes from time gave the Baggies all three points at the Hawthorns.

The Owls put in a battling performance against Roberto Di Matteo’s promotion-hopefuls and will have left feeling they should have taken something from the game.

But they left with nothing to show for their efforts, despite having arguably the better chances in front of goal, and defeat leaves Alan Irvine’s men stuck in the relegation spots.

Wednesday had their noses ahead in terms of chances and possession until the lacklustre Baggies introduced Ishmael Miller midway through the second half, a move which changed the game in favour of the hosts.

Irvine made just one change to the Wednesday side that beat Leicester City 2-0 at Hillsborough at the weekend with Luke Varney replacing Marcus Tudgay in attack.

For the Baggies, Di Matteo made the somewhat strange decision to play recent signing Steven Reid at right-back, an area the visitors were looking to exploit early on.

The Owls, bouyed by their weekend win, started the game brightly and created the first chance of the match when Tommy Miller headed over the bar from a Tommy Spurr cross.

Miller was one of the Owls’ better players in a hard-working first-half performance which gave the hosts plenty to think about.

Jermaine Johnson, too, caused the Albion defence problems throughout the game and his pace was used as an excellent weapon to counter-attack and force the hosts on to the back foot on more than one occasion.

The game started slowly, with neither side really causing too many problems in front of goal.

Former Owl Chris Brunt fired an effort well wide for the hosts on 20 minutes as the Baggies looked for a way through the stubborn Wednesday defence, which included the impressive Eddie Nolan.

James Morrison and Graham Dorrans had further chances for the hosts but they did little to test Lee Grant in the Wednesday goal.

Johnson continued to cause the hosts problems with his pace and he could, and probably should, have done better when he found his way through on goal but decided to try and chip Scott Carson when the better option was probably to go for power.

Luke Varney also came close as Wednesday looked the more likely to open the scoring going into half-time, having plenty of possession and creating chances to boot.

Half-Time: West Brom 0-0 Wednesday

Baggies boss Di Matteo clearly wasn’t happy with his side’s first-half showing and he brought Thomas off to be replaced by goalscorer-to-be Koren at the interval.

But it was Wednesday who carried their momentum into the second 45 minutes as Clarke fired another shot at goal before the lively Johnson, a contender for man of the match, also shot wide.

The longer the Owls goal remained in tact the more the home support were growing restless, and it was working to Wednesday’s advantage.

Wednesday were backed by a strong following at the Hawthorns and the Owls fans were doing their best to support the eleven men on the pitch with their non-stop singing.

Di Matteo looked to ring the changes further when Luke Moore, a poor performer on the night, was replaced by Miller.

And the strong forward made his intentions clear just seconds after his introduction when he fired an ambitious effort wide.

The change lifted the hosts and they enjoyed their best spell of the game, forcing Grant into a number of top-drawer saves to keep the Owls level and enjoying much of the possession.

But the winning goal came from something special with just over ten minutes to go.

Substitute Koren fired a long-range effort which flew into the back of the net, giving Grant little chance, to break the deadlock.

The goal lifted the Baggies and it was a bitter blow to a Wednesday side who will have no doubt felt they deserved more from the game.

Irvine brought Francis Jeffers into the game at the expense of James O’Connor late on as the Owls looked to pinch a late equaliser, but they couldn’t force a comeback and West Brom hung on for three big points.

Full-Time: West Brom 1-0 Wednesday


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