SUCH is the nature of Newcastle United performances on the road this season, the supporters are always left to ponder which Newcastle will turn up. Would it be the swashbuckling, dynamic Newcastle which put Arsenal to the sword, or would it be the Newcastle that failed dismally in Bolton a fortnight ago?

After 45 minutes at The Hawthorns, it very much looked like being the latter.

Scores of passes failed, the defence failed to spark into life, and Shola Ameobi and Andy Carroll were starved of any real service.

Solem Tchoyi's 32nd minute goal proved the difference at the break, while Newcastle failed to register a meaningful effort on goal.

While the Magpies burst into life in the second half, registering a handful of chances on target, Danny Guthrie's slip allowed Peter Odemwingie to slot home Albion's second on 72 minutes to effectively end the Magpies' chances.

And Odemwingie added a second on 89 minutes to further compound Newcastle's misery, while Peter Lovenkrands' stoppage time consolation goal meant nothing in the circumstances.

With Guthrie stretchered off as a result of the slip, Chris Hughton's main concern this morning will be his midfield which has been decimated by injury and suspensions in recent weeks.

Joey Barton was expected to make his return to the Newcastle line-up, but suffered a groin strain after a knock in training.

Instead, Newcastle were unchanged from the team that picked up a point against champions Chelsea.

WBA had the first taste of action after 12 minutes, when Chris Brunt's corner fell to Paul Scharner at the back post, but the Austrian blazed his shot high over the crossbar.

Peter Odemwingie almost took advantage of a poor Sol Campbell clearance on 21 minutes, the centre-half's ball out cannoned off Tchoyi and fell into the path of the Nigerian, but the striker's shot was off target.

Newcastle had their only real sniff of goal after 25 minutes from a corner. Campbell met Guthrie's cross, Andy Carroll tried an overhead kick and Steven Taylor attempted to slot home, but Albion's defence held firm. A minute later, Shola Ameobi went close from another Magpies corner.

But it was the Baggies who drew first blood in the 32nd minute, Tchoyi picking up Chris Brunt's pass on the edge of the box, cutting inside and curling a fine effort past Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal.

Tchoyi, on the right flank as a replacement for the suspended Youssouff Mulumbu, almost got a second on 37 minutes when he wriggled into the Magpies box, but this time Krul was equal to the effort and palmed it out for a corner.

Half-time saw Hughton shuffle his pack, bringing Lovenkrands on for Ameobi, a move intended to give more presence to Newcastle's midfield while not in possession.

And it was a move which almost brought its rewards, the snood-wearing Wayne Routledge crossing in on 51 minutes, Steven Taylor's header bringing a fine save from Scott Carson in the Albion goal.

A minute later, Scharner squandered a chance to put Albion further in front when he was found unmarked by Brunt's corner, but the centre-half could only fire over the bar.

Newcastle almost got an equaliser on the hour mark in an unorthodox fashion when Gutierrez broke free on the left, got into the box and somehow managed to get around Scott Carson, but Albion's defence were there to clear off the line. Carroll's shot from the rebound almost cleared Row Z.

Carson had to be at his best to take a Gutierrez cross off the head of Lovenkrands as Newcastle continued to make inroads into Albion's defence on 65 minutes.

On 67 minutes, Albion enjoyed a rare forage forward when Tchoyi's slide rule pass found James Morrison, the former Middlesbrough midfielder's shot was well saved by Krul.

A minute later, a Guthrie free-kick seemed to be tailor-made for Lovenkrands, but Campbell rose highest and headed wide, much to the Danish striker's annoyance.

But all of Newcastle's hard work was erased on 72 minutes when Guthrie, under pressure from Odemwingie, slipped on the ball, leaving the Nigerian a clear run on goal, and, as Sunderland learned to their expense in August, he rarely misses from that range.

It was Guthrie's last involvement in the game, the midfielder stretchered off as a result of his pass.

His replacement, Alan Smith, got himself into the book 30 seconds after coming on the pitch, his full-force challenge on Thomas falling foul of referee Mike Dean.

In truth, the game seemed over as a contest at 2-0, but the Baggies struck another nail in the Magpies' coffin on 89 minutes when Odemwingie controlled a long ball from halfway, rounded Krul and slotted home.

Newcastle's vast travelling support were given scant consolation with a Lovenkrands goal in stoppage time, Danny Simpson's cross finding Carroll who brought a fine stop from Carson, but the Dane was on hand to fire in the rebound.

But that's all it was, a consolation, and in truth, it will mean very little to Hughton, who will be extremely concerned at the manner of Newcastle's capitulation on the road again.



1-0: Tchoyi (32, cut inside and curled effort around Krul)

2-0: Odemwingie (72, Guthrie's woeful touch under pressure from Odemwingie, the Nigerian afforded a clear run on goal and made no mistake)

3-0: Odemwingie (89, long ball found striker in space, rounded Krul and slotted home)

3-1: Lovenkrands (90, Simpson's cross headed at Carson by Carroll and Lovenkrands hit in the rebound

Bookings: Gutierrez (20, foul); Guthrie (62, foul), Smith (74, foul)

Referee: Mike Dean (The Wirral) - Card-happy, but mostly made the correct calls 7

Attendance: 23,486

Entertainment: ***

WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-5-1): Carson 7; Jara 6, Scharner 6, Tamas 6, Cech 6; Tchoyi 7, Dorrans 6, Morrison (Reid 84) 7, Brunt 7, Thomas (Barnes 78) 7; ODEMWINGIE 8. Subs not used: Myhill (gk), Ibanez, Shorey, Fortune, Cox.


6 Krul: Couldn't be blamed for any of the goals and made some decent stops from close range;

6 Simpson: Not a bad performance, fairly unspectacular, crossed well for Newcastle's goal,

5 Campbell: Made his 500th Premier League appearance, looked like his first. Shaky.

5 Taylor: Positionally he is way behind other defenders at the club, but puts in 100% at least,

6 Enrique: Not for the lack of effort but could not click with Gutierrez on the left;

5 Routledge: Loses a mark for the snood alone, but didn't enjoy his finest hour today;

6 Tiote: Ill disciplined but tried to get things going for Newcastle,

5 Guthrie: Did very little and his slip, although causing himself injury, was as poor as you'll see all season;

5 Gutierrez: Has the grace and poise of a dog chasing a ball in a park, but his industry almost reaped rewards;

4 Ameobi: Was largely kept quiet in a subdued first half for Newcastle. Subbed.

6 Carroll: Didn't enjoy the best of games, but points for effort.


Lovenkrands (for Ameobi, 46) Did well to grab a goal, but it came too little too late for Newcastle 6

Smith (for Guthrie 73) 6

Ranger (for Routledge 73) 5

(not used): Soderberg (gk), Perch, Best, Kadar.

Man of the Match

PETER Odemwingie - Another impressive outing for the Nigerian, surely one of the best bargain buys in the Premier League this season