West Brom end 20-match winless run by seeing off Brighton

West Brom defender Jonny Evans scored his second goal of the season against Brighton

West Brom ended a 20-match winless streak in the Premier League with victory over Brighton, thanks to goals from defenders Jonny Evans and Craig Dawson.

The unmarked Evans put the Baggies ahead early on when he arrived at the back post to head in Jay Rodriguez’s flick-on from a Matt Phillips corner.

The hosts added a second from another corner shortly after half-time when Dawson beat Gaeten Bong to Chris Brunt’s outswinger to head home powerfully.

The victory was Alan Pardew’s first in the league since he replaced Tony Pulis in charge at The Hawthorns at the end of November.

The only negative for the Baggies was a bizarre gesture from Jay Rodriguez which may land him in trouble.

After an argument with Bong, Rodriguez pinched his own nose which prompted an angry reaction from the Brighton defender.

Referee Martin Atkinson did not take any action on the pitch but made a note of the incident.

Brighton only fleetingly threatened the West Brom goal as they made it six away league games without a goal.

Jose Izquierdo curled wide from the edge of the area in the first half, and Anthony Knockaert lifted a shot over after a well-worked move.

The Seagulls slip from 12th to 18th spot while West Brom remain in the relegation zone, a place below them in 19th, but are only two points behind 17th-placed Bournemouth.

Baggies taste victory — at last

Pardew earned his first win since succeeding Pulis when his side beat Exeter City in the FA Cup last weekend — although only 363 Baggies fans were there to see it.

There were many more present in the 25,240 crowd at The Hawthorns and a huge roar greeted the final whistle as Pardew celebrated a first league win.

It was a richly deserved three points as West Brom played the more positive attacking football and were defiant in defence against a side who will also be battling to avoid the drop.

Towards the end of the match Pardew had acted like a cheerleader, whipping up the home fans to give his players the energy to get over the line.

With back-to-back wins, in the cup and here, the Albion boss will feel there is finally some momentum building for his side following such a long run.

But if West Brom are to avoid relegation to the Championship, this must be a turning point in their season.

Evans essential to survival bid

West Brom captain Evans opened the scoring but it was the 29-year-old’s influential defensive display at The Hawthorns that was of a greater significance.

At the heart of the home defence, Evans gave a commanding performance as he marshalled the backline with a calm assurance.

The former Manchester United defender continues to be linked with a move to either Manchester City or Arsenal.

But a defiant «come on» roared by Evans after he scored gave a glimpse of the emotional attachment the Albion skipper has to his current club.

Baggies boss Pardew must do everything in his powers to persuade Evans to remain in the Black Country — West Brom’s Premier League status may depend on it.

More to follow.

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