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Crewe 2 West Brom 3

Lee Hughes became an instant idol at the club he has supported since a boy.

The 21-year-old Albion striker came off the bench midway through the second half, and fired two goals in the last five minutes to give them a dramatic win.

Hughes is a lifelong Baggies fan and his schoolboy dream came true on his pounds 250,000 move to the Hawthorns from Kidderminster in the summer.

He now looks sure to replace Peschisolido in the starting line-up after he was substituted for him to sensational effect.

A Hunt penalty had given Albion an early lead but strikes from Adebola and Rivers had put Crewe on course for their first ever win in Division One.

But then Hughes stepped in for a fairytale finish.

They were both brilliant solo efforts - he beat two defenders and sent a right-foot curler beyond Kearton with minutes to go - then repeated the trick with his left boot in the dying seconds. It was slightly cruel on Crewe, who had fought back well after being outplayed in the first half-hour.

Albion missed several chances before Lightfoot brought down Hunt and the striker picked himself up to convert the penalty midway through the half.

But Crewe were level minutes before the interval when Adebola beat Miller from 12 yards. And they took the lead just after the hour when Rivers finished a superb four-man move.

Adebola crashed an effort off the underside of the bar, leaving the way open for Hughes to complete the incredible recovery.

Hughes was snapped up in the summer after hammering 30 goals in the Conference last season.

Bigger clubs than West Brom were interested but the youngster's devotion to the Baggies meant there was only one option.

"It is a dream come true," the young hero bubbled afterwards. "It was a dream to join the team I have supported all my life and to score two goals in front of the fans is just incredible.

"I know other clubs were interested in me but I would choose West Brom above any other team and that includes the Premiership.

"My Mum even tapes the radio programme which has the commentary on it - she will be very happy.

"But I will try not to get carried away, I am still learning at this level."

The signing of Hughes looks like paying dividends for Harford, who can boast a 100 per cent League record from the opening two games.

However it does not disguise some of the problems that might prevent a realistic title challenge.

Hughes apart, Albion looked a lightweight outfit up front and Mardon and Murphy were given a torrid time by Adebola.

But those niggling doubts will have been forgotten last night and the only sour point for Albion was that their fans responded to the Hughes heroics by staging a mini pitch invasion.
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Dunn, Andy
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Aug 17, 1997
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