West Bromwich Albion 1 Newcastle United 0: McClaren's side plunged deeper into relegation mire

Steve McClaren
Steve McClaren
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Darren Fletcher plunged Newcastle United even deeper into the relegation mire at The Hawthorns this afternoon.

Fletcher's goal gave West Bromwich Albion a 1-0 Premier League win over Steve McClaren's 18th-placed side, who are now two points adrift of safety.

McClaren had surprisingly named an unchanged team, though he was forced to make a late change to the teamsheet after Rob Elliot complained of sickness during the warm-up.

And Karl Darlow made his Premier League debut in the game, which followed a Boxing Day home defeat to Everton.

Fletcher struck in the 78th minute to claim all three points for Tony Pulis's team, who had dominated a frenetic first half but failed to capitalise on a series of chances.

Newcastle, however, had fought back after the break. Paul Dummett struck the crossbar and captain Fabricio Coloccini forced a fine save from Boaz Myhill with an attempted backheel.

United also felt they should have had a penalty when Aleksandar Mitrovic had his shirt tugged by Jonny Evans as he lined up a shot.

But referee Mike Jones waved play on, and Newcastle were left to rue that decision, and their missed chances, when Claudio Yacob swung in a cross from the right.

The unmarked Fletcher's downward header was fumbled on the line by Darlow.

Newcastle's next game is away to Premier League title favourites Arsenal on Saturday.

WEST BROMWICH ALBION: Myhill; Olsson (Gardner, 18), Yacob, Evans, Morrison (Berahino, 70), Anichebe (Lambert, 88), Brunt, McAuley, Fletcher, Dawson, Sessegnon. Subs not used: Lindegaard; Chester, Gamboa, McManaman.

NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow, Janmaat, Mbemba, Coloccini, Dummett, Sissoko, Colback (Thauvin, 86), Anita (Tiote, 27), Wijnaldum, Mitrovic, Perez (de Jong, 72). Subs not used: Elliot, Mbabu, Lascelles, Gouffran.

Goal: Fletcher 78

Referee: Mike Jones (Chester)

Attendance: 26,313