Middlesbrough 4 West Bromwich Albion 0

Last updated : 23 April 2005 By Footymad Previewer
There was no happy return to the Riverside for former Middlesbrough manager Bryan Robson.

The West Brom boss was given a tremendous ovation before the kick-off, but then saw his team loose ground in the Premier League relegation battle.

Three thousand Albion fans arrived at the ground in free transport courtesy of the Midlands club.

The fans were in jubilant mood before the kick-off, following the recent revival of their team and there was a banner unfurled with the words 'The Great Escape'.

Middlesbrough were in desperate need of a win to revive flagging hopes of a UEFA cup spot and to atone for a dismal midweek performance against Fulham.

West Brom began full of confidence and threatening to record their first win at Middlesbrough for over half a century.

The Baggies showed more threat in attack and Kevin Campbell went close in the opening minutes.

Middlesbrough hit back and leading scorer Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink headed inches wide of the far post from a left-wing cross from Boudewijn Zenden.

Robert Earnshaw broke through the middle with a scoring chance for the visitors before he was denied by Brad Jones.

Jones, once again deputising for the injured Mark Schwarzer, was quick off his line to save just inside the penalty area.

Jones was again in action from a close-range Campbell header soon after.

West Brom were playing the better football and Middlesbrough were lucky to survive when Richard Chaplow broke down the right after a mistake by former Baggies defender Ugo Ehiogu.

The game suddenly turned in Middlesbrough's favour with a three-goal scoring spree that delighted their fans and left West Brom shattered.

It was ironic that the relegation battlers had looked the better side before the three-goal burst.

After Russell Hoult had saved from Hasselbaink, Slovak international Szilard Nemeth followed up to open the scoring. Nemeth pounced before the danger was cleared with a shot into the right-hand corner of the net.

The Nemeth goal came in the 26th minute and six minutes later he was involved in a Hasselbaink goal.

Nemeth broke down the left before Hoult got a hand to his shot. The ball looked to be spinning into the net as Hasselbaink provided a finishing touch.

It was debatable as to whether Hasselbaink or Nemeth had scored though the Dutchman accepted the congratulations of his team-mates. It was one of the easiest goals in the illustrious career of the striker.

Nemeth was enjoying one of his best games of his Middlesbrough career to date. The Slovak has often been the butt of disgruntled fans, but he was enjoying an influential role in Boro's scoring burst.

After Hoult had parried a Hasselbaink effort, Nemeth followed up with a six-yard header into a gaping goal to make it 3-0 eight minutes before the interval.

Five minutes before the break Earnshaw headed wide with a chance to reduce the arrears.

Middlesbrough walked off at half-time to a standing ovation from their fans but the scoreline was rather cruel on West Brom.

The second half was something of an anti-climax with the highlight a superb 25-yard free-kick from Stewart Downing in the last minute that completed a comfortable home win.

Man of the Match: Szilard Nemeth - The Slovak forward gave one of his best displays in a Boro shirt and could have had a hat-trick as West Brom were swept aside.