Albion stay on course by taking Roman road

Last updated at 22:48 02 February 2008


Roman Bednar kept West Bromwich Albion

in pole position in the race for an automatic Premier

League spot by maintaining his remarkable

scoring record.

Promotion rivals Burnley, chasing a fourth successive

win, had snatched a shock third-minute

lead through former Albion midfielder James

O'Connor, who failed to score in his 20 months at

The Hawthorns.

But Bostjan Cesar pegged them back in the 26th

minute with his first goal for Albion before

Bednar headed a deserved 60th-minute winner

with his 10th goal in as many Championship starts.

Albion squandered the opportunity of landing

the knockout blow when Robert Koren's 69thminute

penalty miss allowed the visitors to make

it a fight to the finish.

Albion manager Tony Mowbray said: "You could

see why Burnley have the second best away

record in the division. They have a system of

playing with five in midfield which suits them

and they presented us with a few problems.

"We gave them a goal start from a set-piece,

which was disappointing after the work we did in

the week to rectify the problem. But we showed

a great determination to get ourselves in front."

Burnley manager Owen Coyle could feel

equally frustrated about his side's failure to

defend Jonathan Greening's corner from which

Cesar volleyed Albion's equaliser from the edge

of the six-yard box. But Coyle was adamant Burnley should have had a free-kick

immediately beforehand, claiming

Stanislav Varga was pushed by Bednar.

Coyle said: "We didn't defend the corner

and paid the price but there were still a lot

of positives for us to take out of the game.

"I will be surprised if West Bromwich

don't win the league but it's a wide open

race for the play-offs and it's important

we try to win every game."

Albion's 2-1 defeat at Preston in midweek

had left them with only four points

from their previous four games, and their

defensive deficiencies were exposed as

David Unsworth was left unchallenged to

nod down Robbie Blake's free-kick for

O'Connor to volley into the roof of the net.

But Albion, still averaging more than

two goals a game on the credit side, drew level with Cesar's spectacular finish and

might have grabbed an interval lead as

Zoltan Gera twice went close. Burnley

were undone on the hour, though, as Paul

Robinson crossed from Koren's feed for

Bednar to head past Brian Jensen.

Mowbray added: "Bednar is big, strong,

quick and scores goals, and he's doing

OK." Albion will sign him permanently

from Hearts when his loan arrangement

expires at the end of the season.

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