Writer: Kris Tipton
Date:Monday January 14 2008
Saturday January 12th, 5.20pm, 3pm
IF West Bromwich Albion succeed in securing the holy grail of a place in the Premiership at the end of the season they will owe a huge debt of gratitude to Kevin Phillips.
At an age when many seasoned professionals have already hung up their boots, 34-year-old Super Kev brought his goals tally to 16 from 16 starts at Hull City on Saturday - a phenomenal return for any striker at any level.
He needed just two minutes to open his account at the KC Stadium, showing the typical predatory instinct of a seasoned goalscorer by getting on the end of a superb move which saw Ishmael Miller release Chris Brunt down the left flank to fire in a low cross with his cultured left foot.
Phillips timed his run on goal to perfection and the result was a simple tap-in.
Hull refused to crumble, though, and the Baggies were on the back foot for long spells before Phillips again took a hand in the proceedings just after the half-hour mark.
With the home defence stepping up in anticipation of an offside ruling, Phillips delivered a perfectly-time killer pass that allowed James Morrison to deliver a second goal with an assured finish with the outside of his foot.
For once Albion were not getting the lion`s share of possession that their passing game usually ensures, but the quality of the forward play was proving the difference between the two sides.
But the Baggies never make it easy for themselves and after Richard Garcia brought Hull back into the game with a thumping left-footed finish after 71 minutes a rash tackle from behind by Paul Robinson resulted in a second yellow card for the full back.
All too often the Baggies have caved in under such pressure but for once they show some real resilience as Bostjan Cesar was sent on to bolster the defence and Phillips and Miller were withdrawn to allow Roman Bednar to play the lone striker`s role.
Cross after cross rained in on the Albion goal in the last 15 minutes, but Albion held their nerve and with Hull committing everything to attack Bednar wrapped up the points with virtually the last kick of the game when he broke away to beat Hull keeper Bo Myhill with a well-struck shot from the edge of the box.
Hull City (4-4-2): Myhill; Ricketts, Turner, Brown, Delaney (France 82), Garcia, Ashbee, Marney (Campbell 54), Hughes, Folan, Windass (Barmby 59). Subs not used: Doyle, Collins.
Goals: Garcia 71
West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Kiely; Hoefkens, Barnett, Pele, Robinson; Morrison, Koren, Greening, Brunt (Gera 67); Phillips (Cesar 76), Miller (Bednar 76). Subs not used: Steele, Filipe Teixeira.
Goals: Phillips 2, Morrison 32, Bednar 90
Referee: Colin Webster (Tyne & Wear)
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Date:Monday January 14 2008
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