Long helps Baggies bury Bolton
Striker returns to score winning goal for West Brom
Last Updated: 19/11/11 9:05pm
Shane Long: The striker makes his comeback by scoring the winning goal for West Brom
West Brom striker Shane Long returned after a month-long lay-off with a knee injury to score the winner in a much-needed 2-1 victory against Bolton at the Hawthorns.
The Republic of Ireland International produced a virtuoso display as he helped the home side secure their first win over the Trotters in seven years, superbly heading home Nicky Shorey's cross just before the hour mark.
In a rumbustious first period at the Hawthorns, Jerome Thomas scored his first Premier League goal of the season to break the deadlock after collecting Zoltan Gera's through ball before rounding Jussi Jaaskelainen and slotting the ball into an empty net.
But he soon turned villain by conceding a penalty just five minutes later by climbing all over the back of Fabrice Muamba. Referee Neil Swarbrick had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Ivan Klasnic showed tremendous confidence to bury his left-foot shot into the corner for his sixth goal of the season, giving Ben Foster no chance.
Long's winner helped him to make up for the disappointment of being unavailable for his country's Euro 2012 play-off triumph against Estonia.
Bolton had looked dangerous in the opening 45 minutes and full of confidence after the 5-0 home win over Stoke.
But they were second best after the break despite a battling display from Muamba in the centre of the park and remain in the bottom three.
The visitors made a positive start and Chris Eagles was only just too high with a dipping volley from a narrow angle.
Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen palmed away a header from Jonas Olsson who was first to react to a Chris Brunt corner.
Mulumbu cleared a header from Bolton defender Gary Cahill off the line after he had been left unmarked at a Joe Riley corner.
Cahill made a superb tackle to knock Long out of his stride after he had seized onto Thomas' through ball and his shot flew wide.
But after 16 minutes Thomas put Albion ahead with his first goal of the season although replays appeared to indicate he was offside.
Gera supplied the telling through ball and Thomas calmly took the ball to the side of Jaaskelainen before shooting into an empty net.
Bolton needed only five minutes to get back on level terms and this time Thomas was the villain for the home side as he was adjudged to have brought down Muamba.
Up stepped Klasnic and his spot-kick contained too much power for Foster even though the Albion keeper dived the right way.
Thomas had also given a penalty away in Albion's last home game against Liverpool.
His mixed fortunes continued when he was yellow carded after 27 minutes for a challenge on Muamba.
The game continued to flow freely and Foster came to Albion's rescue when he blocked a left-footed drive from Mark Davies. Then a Kevin Davies header was deflected over the bar from an Eagles corner.
Cahill threw himself in the way of a drive from Thomas as Albion enjoyed a spell of pressure at the start of the second period.
Thomas had another shot blocked and curled another effort over the bar. David Wheater made a vital interception in cutting out Gera's low cross with Long ready to pounce.
Albion's pressure paid off after 56 minutes with Long restoring their lead.
Thomas made a jinking run before releasing Shorey and his first time cross was met by Long who glanced his header past Jaaskelainen.
Bolton searched for an equaliser and Kevin Davies shot wide under pressure from Olsson. Thomas was shooting at every opportunity and another attempt flew straight at Jaaskelainen.In a rare Bolton raid, Foster got his body behind Mark Davies' low attempt.
|West Bromwich Albion||Team Statistics||Bolton Wanderers|
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|6||Shots on Target||4|
|7||Shots off Target||3|
Barclays Premier League
|7||West Ham United||22||36|
|14||West Bromwich Albion||22||22|
|19||Queens Park Rangers||22||19|