Baggies too strong for Saints
Referee Robert Madley had a Barclays Premier League debut to remember, dishing out three red cards as West Brom romped to a record-breaking 3-0 victory at Southampton.
Having made a rapid ascent up the leagues, the Yorkshireman was handed his maiden top-flight match at St Mary's - one many had expected to be a quiet affair.
How wrong they were, with Marc Antoine-Fortune opening the scoring in just the sixth minute after Saints failed to clear their lines.
Fortune helped the Baggies double their lead after the break, putting through the ever-impressive Romelu Lukaku to slot home past Artur Boruc.
Just three minutes later Fortune was sent off, having raised his hands to Gaston Ramirez after the Uruguayan had thrown an arm at Shane Long.
The Saints substitute was sent off for the incident and was joined in the dressing room seven minutes from time by team-mate Danny Fox, who was sent off for a nasty two-footed challenge on Steven Reid.
Long had already made it 3-0 by that point as West Brom set a new club record for Premier League matches won (14) and points gained (48), much to the delight of the bumper away crowd of 3,195.
Steve Clarke's side dominated from the outset and Reid played through Lukaku early on, forcing Boruc into action at his near post.
The Poland international could only turn the ball for a corner from which West Brom took a sixth-minute lead.
Graham Dorrans' set piece was nodded goalwards by Gareth McAuley and then Lukaku, allowing Fortune to bundle home from close range.
Fox attempted to hack the ball clear but there was to be no goal-line controversy at the ground at which Hawk-Eye did their testing, with the ball clearly crossing the line.
In truth, it was a poor goal to concede and typified a lacklustre start by the hosts.
After Morgan Schneiderlin, Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez all had shots, West Brom came close to punishing more lax defending.
Fine team interplay saw the ball swept out wide to Lukaku, only for the Chelsea loanee to again be denied by Boruc.
Saints were looking devoid of ideas going forward and ropey at the back - a combination that was making it an uncomfortable afternoon for the home side.
Nathaniel Clyne had to be alert to thwart Long and only a dollop of good luck prevented West Brom netting a second before the half-hour mark.
Dorrans sent in a free-kick that found Jonas Olsson unmarked at the back-post, but his ball across the face of goal just evaded Lukaku.
Saints pulled themselves together for the remainder of the half but were unable to find an equaliser, with a powerful Nathaniel Clyne strike and Lambert free-kick the closest they came.
Lukaku was denied by Boruc late on for the visitors, whose midfielder Claudio Yacob was fortunate not to be sent off after clattering Adam Lallana moments after being booked.
Boos welcomed the half-time whistle as the home fans expressed their frustration with the performance of referee Madley.
Ramirez replaced Jack Cork when the teams returned, although Saints were still struggling to seriously threaten the Baggies goal.
It took 10 minutes for the hosts to seriously threaten a leveller, with a Clyne cross-shot hitting the crossbar.
Saints were still looking poor, though, and found themselves two goals behind in the 67th minute.
Fortune was allowed to turn far too easily and his through ball found Lukaku, who rounded Boruc before slotting home.
It was a fine assist by Fortune, whose afternoon was brought to a premature end three minutes later.
Upset by Ramirez's elbow to Long, the West Brom frontman pushed the Uruguayan in the face.
It led Madley to show Fortune a straight red card - something he also handed out to Ramirez.
With the sides both reduced to 10 men the game became more open, with a last-ditch Morgan Schneiderlin tackle the only thing stopping James Morrison making it 3-0.
West Brom would not be denied for long, though, with Long slotting home past Boruc after getting away from Jos Hooiveld.
Things went from bad to worse for the visitors seven minutes from time when Fox, playing in place of the injured Luke Shaw, was sent off for a terrible two-footed lunge on Reid.
Not since Portsmouth faced Sunderland in February 2010 has a Premier League match seen three cards - something that overshadowed a fine Baggies win.