Alan Pardew recorded his first Premier League win as West Bromwich Albion manager at the ninth attempt after the Baggies led from the fourth minute to beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 at the Hawthorns.
Brighton, who made eight changes from the side who beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup, fell behind to a well-worked goal when Jonny Evans rose superbly at the back post to head home after Chris Brunt’s corner was nudged on by Jay Rodriguez.
Chris Hughton’s side have only scored in three away games this season and were largely restricted to shots from distance. At the other end, Albion’s Matty Phillips thought he had won a penalty when his shot hit Glenn Murray’s arm but referee Martin Atkinson waved away the appeal, much to Pardew’s fury.
That disappointment was soon forgotten after the interval when Craig Dawson headed Albion’s second, from another outstanding Brunt corner, as West Brom secured their first win in 21 Premier League games to move within two points of safety.
Evans, who has been linked with a move away from the club in the transfer window, said the team were delighted to have got Pardew his first win.
“It’s been a difficult period for the manager,” he said. “He is a positive guy and we all thought the win would come sooner. You could see we are pleased for him and the club as a whole.
“It was a great feeling and there was a bit of pressure at the end of the game since it has been so long since we won.
“Set-pieces are a strength of ours and we have spent time on them. It’s good that it is paying off. Sometimes they are overlooked in football but it’s paid off.”
Reporting by Neil Robinson; Editing by Christian Radnedge