For a player only nine goals short of 200 in his career, Kevin Phillips knew there was a serious omission from his recent goalscoring achievements.

He is used to the sort of goal bonanza that he and Diomansy Kamara enjoyed at Portman Road on Saturday.

After all, he helped Luke Moore net a hat-trick in a 4-0 win at Middlesbrough for Aston Villa last February while netting only once himself.

Until Saturday, despite setting up loads for others, 'SuperKev' had gone since Boxing Day 2000 - for Sunderland at Bradford - without a hat-trick. But, when his last-minute curler completed the scoring and earned him a long-awaited fifth treble, it also brought generous praise from Albion caretaker manager Nigel Pearson.

"Kevin is a fantastic professional," Pearson said. "I have always had a lot of admiration for him as a player and he's been exceptional in training. It was only a matter of time before he started hitting a run of form like he has."

Phillips was more concerned with the spirit of how Albion bounced back from a freak own-goal equaliser, similar to how they had responded to Paul McShane's sending-off in the 4-2 win over Leeds United a fortnight ago.

"It was a test of character how we came back from the own goal," said Phillips, Bryan Robson's last signing for a bargain price from Villa in August. "We've already shown this season, especially against Leeds, how we can come back from setbacks. And we showed that resilience again."

Phillips showed the way, heading in a Jason Koumas cross to put Albion back in front just before the break, four minutes after Chris Perry's own goal. "The important thing was to get a goal straight back," he said. "We managed to do that and, in the second half, we went on to dominate the game."

Phillips is the first Albion player to score a hat-trick since Robert Earnshaw at Charlton Athletic 18 months ago. Phillips did his stuff with Kamara, whose second double on as many Saturdays tripled his goal tally in only a game and half. In 135 minutes the pair have smashed eight goals.

Pearson said: "Football always has been and always will be about players. If they perform to their maximum we have the best squad in this league. This was undoubtedly the most clinical performance we have given all season and we have two strikers who have hit a real rich vein of form."