Express & Star

No need for Hal Robson-Kanu to apologise, say West Brom team-mates

Hal Robson-Kanu's grateful Albion team-mates waved away his apologies in the dressing room after his straight red card against Burnley.

Hal Robson-Kanu celebrates his winner. (AMA)

The substitute striker was sent off eight minutes from time for leading with his arm during an eventful cameo that saw him score a stunning winner minutes earlier.

Despite his marching orders, the Baggies held on to the 1-0 victory to win their opening two games of a top-tier season for the first time since 1978.

And the Wales international, who was serenaded off the pitch by the away fans, was told to zip it by his team-mates back in the changing room when he started to say sorry.

"I thought he was brilliant when he came on," said Chris Brunt. "He held the ball up really well and brought the other lads into the game, and took his goal really well.

"He's not that sort of lad, I don't think it's a malicious challenge. Obviously when you jump with your arm up you're inviting people to have a look at it.

"It's disappointing. He came in and apologised for getting sent off. But all the lads know what sort of character he is, he wouldn't do anything like that on purpose.

"I think maybe just a bit of over-exuberance got the better of him there, because he was doing really well."

Robson-Kanu is only the fourth substitute to score and get sent off in the same Premier League game, following in the footsteps of Ivan Klasnic for Bolton, Bobby Zamora for West Ham, and David Lee for Chelsea.

There were some question marks over how harsh the straight red was, particularly after Sam Vokes caught Ahmed Hegazi in the first half with a stray elbow and escaped a booking.

"I've not seen it," said head coach Tony Pulis, who was at Huddersfield's match with Newcastle on Sunday. "I want to cool down and not say anything I shouldn't say just in case.

"We'll judge the challenges when we see them. I know Hegazi has got a cut across his eye, but I've not seen it."

Unless Pulis decides to appeal the red card once he sees it, Robson-Kanu will now miss the next three games, but the Baggies boss praised his striker's impact.

"He's come on in the last couple of games and made a massive difference to us," he said. "He's a real presence coming off the bench."

The Wales international appeared to hold up a coin as he trudged off the pitch that was allegedly thrown at him by someone in the home crowd.

"I didn't see anything," said Pulis. "He's not said anything to me and I've not seen anything. It's the first I've heard of that."

Brunt was playing the 500th league game of his career, and he was delighted to seal that milestone with a victory that took the Baggies into second place of the fledgling Premier League table on Saturday night.

"We've probably played a lot better and come away with nothing so it was nice to get the three points," he said. "It's a tough place to come, they had a great home record last year and obviously the result they had down at Chelsea, their tails are up, so it's a fantastic three points."

Brunt started the move off for the goal when he hooked the ball forward for Matt Phillips to nod on to Robson-Kanu.

"It was just a bit of a stretch to keep the ball in," he admitted. "You put it in the right areas and sometimes percentages pay off.

"That's a big strength of Burnley's, getting balls in the box and getting them forward.

"We knew what to expect, we defended it pretty well. I said to Matty, it's the first time I've ever seen him head the ball. It was a good flick-on and Hal took it really well to be fair."