Ipswich Town 1 West Bromwich Albion 5

Tony Mowbray doesn't half have a job on his hands now when he finally reports for duty with West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday morning.

How on earth can he improve on perfection?

Even the one goal that inspired Albion conceded as they racked up their best away win in more than a quarter of a century was scored by a Baggies player.

Not since that famous day in Albion's history at Old Trafford in December 1978 have the Baggies scored five in the league away from home.

If caretaker manager Nigel Pearson can keep his team firing on all cylinders like this against Crystal Palace tomorrow night at Selhurst Park, there might be serious questions at The Hawthorns as to whether Albion have appointed the wrong man.

Mowbray was there at his former football home for a 'meet and greet' with the Albion players before Saturday's match.

But he must have been left with mixed feelings from watching the team he is about to inherit take their goal tally during Pearson's supervision to 14 in four games in a dazzling supershow orchestrated by Jason Koumas and clinically sealed by Kevin Phillips and Diomansy Kamara.

It ought to have been the proud Pearson's swan song. But Mowbray had already decided to keep a low profile for another few days before taking over the reins on Wednesday morning, allowing himself the rare luxury of another chance to watch his team play tomorrow night.

He ought to be getting quite excited at seeing just what this side are capable of but there must remain a private concern as to how he can begin to think about making them any better.

"We feel we've answered our critics with a performance like that," the indignant Koumas said after his man-of-the-match performance.

With the enigmatic Welsh international in this form, and Phillips and Kamara showing this standard of finishing, it would be hard to imagine Albion playing any better.

Even the Ipswich goal - credited to the luckless Chris Perry - was as freakish as the one England conceded in Croatia.

Mowbray's challenge will be to get this unpredictable Albion side reproducing this on a regular basis.

Bizarrely, Pearson already knew that, no matter how good this performance was, he would surely be out of a job by the end of the week once Mowbray has started and brought with him from Hibernian his own trusted No 2 Mark Venus.

"That's the irony of football," he said, after overseeing Albion's biggest victory since Gary Megson's promotion-winning team destroyed Portsmouth 5-0 on their way to the Premiership for the first time in February 2002. "This has been coming because we know we have good players. And, although I'm delighted with the result, in a way, it's a shame it came now."

It was also, after an unlucky 13 failures in a row, Albion's first away win in nine months - something Pearson acknowledged was one root cause of Robson's demise.

"Once you get a label for being unable to win away it can cause a barrier," Pearson said. "Ultimately it was probably the reason for the change of leadership but that's football. There is no point in talking of the rights and wrongs of it and the whys and wherefores."

No, this was not the day to try to understand the at times head-scratching way they run things at The Hawthorns. It was a day to simply stand back and admire.

Admittedly, Pearson rather fell upon the formula of putting his four best ball-playing players together in the same attack-minded midfield a fortnight ago when Albion were riddled with injuries.

But he can take the credit for sticking with them on Saturday, despite the return to full fitness of his two engine-room navvies Ronnie Wallwork and Nigel Quashie. If that highlighted the one genuine criticism of Robson's reign - that his team did not always look so free of fear to play such flowing football - the end product was startling.

It took Albion almost half an hour to get the ball rolling when the outstanding Koumas provided the through ball for Kamara to out-pace Richard Naylor and beat Ipswich keeper Lewis Price with a right-foot shot. Seven minutes later Ipswich were back on terms thanks to a bizarre own goal which might have restored a smile even to the face of Paul Robinson (the other Paul Robinson, that is), as Curtis Davies's clearance flew in off Perry's shin.

To emphasise the difference between the two teams, embarrassingly, Ipswich were not to produce another effort on target all afternoon, largely because, inside four minutes, Albion were back in front.

Koumas curled in a free kick from the left and Phillips escaped his marker and netted from close range with a free header.

Within a quarter-hour of the restart, it was all over as a contest thanks to two more Albion goals in as many minutes. The first was breathtaking. With pinpoint accuracy, Koumas sent Zoltan Gera clear along the right and, from his deep cross, Phillips arrived at the far post to power home another header.

The prize poacher turned provider when he slipped the ball through for Kamara to net his second.

Just when it seemed that might be it, 'SuperKev' conjured a grandstand finish. Jonathan Greening was the provider before Phillips cut in from the right to curl in from 20 yards.