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Football: THAT'S ONE IN THE BAG; Mogga sits it out as his new side go on rampage.

Byline: DAVID RINALDI

TONY MOWBRAY wouldn't have known whether to laugh or cry yesterday as he watched his new West Brom side pummel Ipswich 5-1 at Portman Road.

The former Hibs manager was cheered throughout by the Baggies fans but doesn't take charge until after Tuesday's game against Crystal Palace.

And caretaker boss Nigel Pearson could be a hard act to follow after West Brom's stunning victory yesterday.

However, it was Mogga who got the credit in East Anglia.

"We love you Mowbray" was the cry from the Baggies faithful - and if he masterminds a derby win next Sunday against Wolves you can only imagine how the fans will take to him. Mowbray didn't do much talking about his new side yesterday, insisting he would leave that to Wednesday.

All he said was that it was an "interesting afternoon" - and the 5-1 thrashing certainly wasn't short on talking points.

The former Easter Road gaffer took his seat in the directors box just a few minutes before kick-off.

The big Englishman broke Hibee hearts on Friday when agreed to replace Bryan Robson at The Hawthorns.

And although he wasn't in charge yesterday Mogga's return to Portman Road was symbolic.

He reportedly knocked back the chance to succeed Joe Royle at Ipswich in the summer and finished his playing career at the club before moving on to the coaching staff under George Burley.

However, when the Baggies came calling last week Mowbray felt it was too good a chance to turn down.

When the ex-Easter Road gaffer put pen to paper on Friday he joined the growing list of former Celtic stars in charge of Championship sides.

Forget your UEFA pro-licence, the key to being a boss down south appears to be spending some time at Parkhead.

Roy Keane is at the helm in Sunderland while Peter Grant was appointed Norwich boss on the same day Mogga was signing up at The Hawthorns.

And when Mowbray finally takes charge of the team a week today he will find another ex-Celt in the dug-out as he locks horns with Mick McCarthy of Wolves.

The Baggies seized control against Ipswich and looked comfortable throughout.

Within minutes of kick-off the away fans showed their support for the new gaffer with chants of "Mowbray, Mowbray".

And they had a goal to cheer in 29 minutes when Diomansy Kamara raced on to a Jason Koumas pass before firing home from 18 yards.

Then Kevin Phillips somehow shot wide from two yards after Zoltan Gera flicked the ball on.

But Mowbray must have had palpitations 10 minutes before the break when West Brom captain Curtis Davies knocked the ball into his own net from the edge of the box after being chased down by striker Billy Clarke.

However, former England striker Phillips put the smile back on his face six minutes before the break. Koumas fired in a cross and the wee man made no mistake with a clinical header.

The travelling fans started chanting Mowbray's name again after the break but he must have been wondering how he got the job as the Baggies romped 3-1 ahead after 54 minutes.

Gera's cross from the right was bulleted home by Phillips from 12 yards then three minutes later Kamara ran on to a through ball from the ex-Aston Villa striker to round Lewis Price and give the Baggies a three-goal cushion.

In the dying seconds Scotland star Nigel Quashie set up Phillips to complete a stunning treble. It was hard not to feel for caretaker boss Pearson after this superb display.

He could find himself on the dole on Wednesday morning when Mogga comes in - with Mark Venus following his old boss at Hibs to the Midlands as No.2.

If axed Robson was watching at home you can only imagine how his blood must have been boiling.

This was essentially his side - and they were giving one of the most organised teams in the Championship a doing.

But for all that, the happiest man at Portman Road must have been Mowbray.

The side he has inherited look well capable of making a rapid return to the top flight judgedon this fantastic display.

And if the appointment of Mowbray prior to this game was designed to get a reaction from the Baggies players they more than delivered. This was a top-drawer performance.

The Englishman has a first-class squad at his disposal.

Former Celtic star John Hartson, Scotland ace Quashie and Nathan Ellington were among the substitutes - showing the depth of talent at The Hawthorns.

And while West Brom are seven points adrift of leaders Cardiff they should be in the running come May.

CAPTION(S):

Dawn of a new era: Former Hibs boss Tony Mowbray was left with plenty to ponder after watching his new West Brom side thrash Ipswich Town 5-1 yesterday' King Kev: Red-hot striker Phillips smashes home West Brom's fifth to complete a stunning hat trick and give his new boss food for thought' Man of the moment: Mowbray had a ball at Portman Road, meeting old Ispwich pals before watching his new West Brom side win easily
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 15, 2006
Words:853
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