LONDON, January 16: West Bromwich Albion won for the first time under new boss Sam Allardyce as Matheus Pereira’s penalty double clinched a 3-2 Premier League victory at local rivals Wolves on Saturday.
Allardyce had failed to win any of his first five matches since replacing the sacked Slaven Bilic.
But the former England manager was finally able to celebrate after a pulsating Black Country derby at Molineux.
Pereira put Albion ahead from the spot before goals from Fabio Silva and Willy Boly put Wolves in the driving seat at half-time.
Semi Ajayi equalised after the interval and Pereira’s second penalty sealed West Brom’s first win in eight league games.
Albion remain second bottom of the table after their second league victory this term, but are now just three points from safety.
Wolves are winless in six league games and have not beaten the Baggies in 10 years.
It was the first time these two local rivals had met since 2012 when West Brom won 5-1 at Molineux and this was an equally memorable success for the visitors.
West Brom were hit by Covid-19 this week, forcing keeper Sam Johnstone and winger Matt Phillips into self-isolation after positive tests.
David Button replaced Johnstone in goal, while new signing Robert Snodgrass made his Albion debut in Phillips’ absence.
Wolves had won just one of their eight league games since Mexico striker Raul Jimenez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal in November.
They fell behind in the eighth minute with a self-inflicted wound.
Boly caught Callum Robinson with a rash challenge and, after a VAR review confirmed the foul was just inside the area, Pereira stepped up to convert the penalty.
That made it nine consecutive league games in which Wolves had fallen behind.
Silva’s leveller came in the 38th minute when Albion failed to clear a Romain Saiss cross and Boly’s deft backheel found the teenage forward, who slotted home from close-range.
Sloppy defending was Albion’s downfall again as Wolves went in front five minutes later.
Joao Moutinho’s corner wasn’t cleared by Jake Livermore and Boly slammed his shot past Button from seven yards.
Boly was the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, assist a goal and score a goal in the same Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in 2011 — also against West Brom at Molineux.
Albion equalised in the 52nd minute when a long throw was flicked on by Kyle Bartley and Ajayi looped his header over Wolves keeper Rui Patricio into the far corner.
A dramatic game took another turn when Conor Coady conceded a penalty with a trip on Robinson and Pereira stepped up to score from the spot again.
Wolves should have finished with a point, but Silva miscued after Moutinho set up a potential equaliser before the unmarked Patrick Cutrone shot over from close-range.
Later on Saturday, Chelsea travel to west London neighbours Fulham, while Leicester host Southampton. Leeds play Brighton and West Ham face Burnley. (AFP)