United top as Baggies move third
Stephane Sessegnon gave the home side a glimmer of hope with their second three minutes from time, but West Brom made sure of the three points when substitute Marc-Antoine Fortuné fired home with the last kick of the game.
Asked if West Brom could replicate what former club Newcastle did last season and mount a sustained assault on the big guns, manager Steve Clarke insisted he was looking only as far ahead as Wednesday night’s trip to Swansea.
“I don’t know. I don’t know is the honest answer," he said. “All I know is up until now, we have done very well. We have had a lot of plaudits and the players deserve it because so far, we have been a really good team. But you don’t get carried away in the Premier League. We are still this side of Christmas, there are a lot of games to be played, a lot of points to be fought for.
“Our focus is on Wednesday night, that’s as far ahead as we look.”
In the other 3pm kick-offs, Jordi Gomez’s hat-trick spared Ali Al Habsi’s blushes as Wiganovercame Reading3-2, Evertonand Norwichdrew 1-1 and Stokeedged Fulham1-0.
Sean Morrison’s first goal for the Royals — a fine header into the top corner from Nicky Shorey’s cross — had earned the visitors an interval lead at the DW Stadium.
But Gomez equalised 13 minutes into the second period, lashing high into the net after his initial low effort from substitute Franco Di Santo’s cross had been parried by Adam Federici, and then grabbed a second 10 minutes later with a superb diving header from Jean Beausejour’s cross.
Ten minutes from time, Hal Robson-Kanu’s blocked shot looped high into the air and Al Habsi — seemingly expecting to be put under more pressure than he was — fumbled the ball under his crossbar and looked on helplessly as it trickled over the line. However, Gomez was not done, and swept home from Arouna Kone’s pass in stoppage time to complete his treble.
There was also late drama at Goodison Park, where Sebastien Bassong’s 90th-minute diving header from Javier Garrido’s free-kick earned the Canaries a point. Steven Naismith had given the Toffees a 12th-minute lead.
Finally, Charlie Adam’s 26th-minute goal secured Stoke a 1-0 win against Fulham at the Britannia Stadium, the Scotland midfielder the beneficiary of the knockdown after Peter Crouch comfortably beat Philippe Senderos in the air.