West Bromwich Albion 2 Colchester United 1

Not many clubs put their supporters through the mill as often as West Bromwich Albion.

Cruising at 2-0 up, passing their hapless opponents off the park and frequently peppering Aidan Davison's goal, the Baggies looked firmly in control.

Yet they were to finish the game desperately clinging on - and not for the first time this season.

Nathan Ellington put the Baggies ahead in the tenth minute after John Hartson had been scythed down by Wayne Brown in the home side's penalty area. Ellington despatched a cool spot-kick to score his first goal of the season.

Meanwhile, scoring his first since January 2005 was Ronnie Wallwork. The former Manchester United midfielder took Steve Watson's chip onto his chest and placed a low shot past Colchester goalkeeper Davison. A job well done, it seemed.

Bryan Robson's side should have finished the game off long before then, but missed a succession of chances.

Ellington saw another decent effort palmed onto the post by Davison, with the visiting goalkeeper also producing saves to deny Curtis Davies and Paul Robinson, who is emerging as the club's new free-kick specialist.

Then came the second half. The wake-up call came in within seconds of the re-start. Colchester quickly broke down a promising Albion move and swiftly countered, leaving for dead the home team's midfield.

Richard Garcia chased onto a long pass only to see his low angled shot kept out by Pascal Zuberbuhler but it wasn't long until Colchester turned up the heat.

The fading Zoltan Gera was replaced by Darren Carter just after the hour, with Nathan Ellington immediately gesturing to the bench his intention to take an early shower. Once again, his hamstring was having none of it.

From that moment onwards, Albion, who were devoid of any substitute strikers, completely lost their shape. The inevitable fight-back from Colchester led to an 84th minute reply from Jamie Guy, who came off the bench and pulled one back with his first touch of the ball. Albion held on, however, despite a spirited late fight-back by the visitors.

Robson, the West Bromwich Albion manager, admitted his side - not for the first time - had been found wanting after half-time.

"You don't know whether the players go a little bit slack mentally," said Robson, whose team had produced a very similar performance against Hull City a fortnight ago in their opening home game of the season.

"Concentration on the pass was nowhere near as good and we gave away the ball too easily and that encouraged Colchester to come back into the game.

"With the size of their play-ers - they have about seven players who are over 6ft 2ins -they are always going to be a handful on set-plays, so the more chances you give them to get a goal back, the more pressure they will put you under. That's exactly what happened to us. The second half was disappointing.

"For the first half hour, we played some terrific, attacking football, dominated the game and our set-plays were really good. We could have scored quite a few goals.

"To be 2-0 up at half-time should have been enough for the lads to go out there and play with a bit of confidence and just keep doing what they were doing well in the first-half.

"The passing and the movement was good, the quality of our play was of a high standard but we definitely dipped away in the second half. It's clear we need to improve on our second-half performances."

For Wallwork, it was a sweet way to end the match. Not only had he scored what turned out to be the winning goal, but he was also celebrating a new two-year contract in what was his 99th game for the club.

"I was delighted to get a goal and I want more", said the 29-year-old. "I'm delighted to have signed a new deal - it's a great club and we want to get back into the Premiership.

"I didn't even realise the next game was my 100th, so that makes it all the more special."