Sheffield Wednesday 3 West Bromwich Albion 1
Tony Mowbray came under increased scrutiny as resurgent Sheffield Wednesday turned up the heat on the West Bromwich manager with a comfortable Coca-Cola Championship victory.
Goals from Glenn Whelan and Madjid Bougherra inside the opening 15 minutes sent the Baggies tumbling to their sixth defeat in nine games since Mowbray took the helm at The Hawthorns.
Jason Koumas gave Albion a flicker of hope in the 88th minute but Wednesday hit back with a last-minute penalty from substitute Steve MacLean.
The Baggies failed to test Wednesday goalkeeper Mark Crossley until the 80th minute and their performance was greeted with boos of derision by their own supporters.
Wednesday were thoroughly dominant from the outset and manager Brian Laws was left to toast a fully-deserved first home win in charge since taking the helm at Hillsborough earlier this month.
The Owls opened the scoring in the tenth minute when Deon Burton created space for Chris Brunt down the left flank. Brunt’s perfectly-flighted cross was met with a towering header by Whelan at the far post as the midfielder celebrated his third goal of the season.
Five minutes later, the Owls extended their lead as Algerian defender Bougherra stole in completely unmarked to head home Kenny Lunt’s right-wing free-kick.
The Baggies were stunned but they could have been further behind within 60 seconds as Whelan’s cheeky 25-yard chip sailed over Russell Hoult’s head and landed on the top of the net.
Albion struggled to cope with Wednesday’s high-tempo approach and, despite losing left-back John Hills to injury in the 27th minute, the hosts continued to dominate.
Mowbray replaced defender Chris Perry with Paul McShane at the break and the visitors began to enjoy more possession in Wednesday territory after the restart.
However, Brunt continued to prove a constant menace and a steady stream of crosses from the left kept Albion on the back front.
Mowbray made his second change in the 70th minute by replacing Darren Carter with Hungary international Zoltan Gera.
Ten minutes later, the otherwise flawless Bougherra slipped to allow Albion's Phillips his first clear sight of goal inside the 18-yard box. The former Sunderland striker turned and fired in a shot from ten yards which Crossley repelled with a smart stop.
Koumas then fired home in the 88th minute but MacLean’s penalty two minutes later — after he had been fouled by Jonathan Greening — ensured Wednesday had the final say.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Crossley: Bullen, Hills (Spurr 28), Bougherra, Simek: Andrews (O’Brien), Lunt, Whelan, Brunt: Tudgay, Burton (McClean 81). Subs: Coughlan, O’Brien, Adamson.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION: Hoult: Albrechtsen, Perry (McShane 45), Davies, Robinson: Carter (Gera 70), Greening, Quashie, Koumas, Phillips, Kamara. Subs: Watson, Ellington, Steele,
Bookings: Wednesday — Lunt. Albion — Koumas, Perry, Robinson, Gera.
Referee: K Wright