Simon Cox's first-half double helped West Brom cruise to a fourth straight Coca-Cola Championship win at struggling Sheffield Wednesday and keep pace with leaders Newcastle.

Cox, a #1.5million summer signing from Swindon, applied two emphatic finishes midway through the first half for his third and fourth goals in as many matches and Jerome Thomas added a third before half-time as the visitors turned in a masterclass.

Roberto Di Matteo's side, who have now hit 15 goals in their last four matches, were certainly not flattered by the half-time scoreline and notched their fifth away league win of the season after former Wednesday favourite Chris Brunt fired a fourth goal in the 85th minute.

Brian Laws' Owls, without a win in their last six Championship matches, slipped closer to the bottom three after starting the day in 17th place.

Wednesday, who have won only one of their last nine league matches, rarely troubled visiting goalkeeper Scott Carson, while opposite number Lee Grant was called on time and again to keep the Baggies at bay.

Grant was at his best to keep out the visitors twice in the opening six minutes.

The Wednesday goalkeeper tipped over Luke Moore's shot from the edge of the penalty area and then parried a drilled effort from former Owls favourite Chris Brunt.

But the Baggies cashed in on their dominance with two goals in seven minutes from Cox midway through the first period.

Cox thumped home Graham Dorrans' corner from close range in the 23rd minute and then slammed Brunt's pin-point cross high into the roof of the net from similar distance to put the visitors in firm control.

The visitors were rampant. Brunt's volley was blocked by Owls defender Frank Simek and Grant then saved superbly to keep out a snapshot from Thomas.

But Thomas was not to be denied in the 38th minute when the former Charlton and Portsmouth midfielder finished in style from the edge of the area, low into the bottom corner, following Cox's pass from the left.

Wednesday mustered a speculative lob from James O'Connor three minutes after the interval and West Brom defender Marek Cech blocked Darren Potter's 20-yard shot.

But the Baggies remained the dominant force midway through the second period and Dorrans kept Grant on his toes with a stinging drive from 25 yards.

Cox pulled a right-footed shot wide in the 71st minute as he chased his hat-trick and Grant held another long-range shot from Dorrans.

Cox, scorer of 32 goals in all competitions for Swindon last season, then rifled a left-footed effort over the crossbar.

But the visitors rattled in a fourth in the 85th minute when Brunt ensured a heavy defeat for his former club, taking a cross-field pass from Chris Wood in his stride and unleashing an angled right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty into the bottom corner.

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Topics:
Portsmouth
Luke Moore
West Bromwich Albion
Jerome Thomas
Sheffield Wednesday
Lee Grant
Football
Chris Brunt
Graham Dorrans
Championship
Marek Cech
James O'Connor
Swindon Town
Scott Carson
Roberto Di Matteo
Chris Wood
James O'Connor
Simon Cox
Darren Potter
Charlton Athletic
Frank Simek