Craig Mackail-Smith opened his account for Albion as they earned a 1-0 win at Portsmouth today.

The record signing, who was on international duty in midweek, claimed a freakish close range goal right on half-time.

Albion generally looked comfortable throughout the second half against unimaginative hosts.

But they survived a major scare in the last of five added minutes when Liam Lawrence slammed a penalty against the post after Lewis Dunk handled.

The only goal of an often scrappy tussle came after Portsmouth were left stretched when Luke Varney lost possession looking to start a counter raid and Gary Dicker worked the ball across to Craig Noone on the left edge of the box.

Noone played the ball in for Ashley Barnes to shoot and the ball eventually crept in off the outstretched toe of his strike partner.

Home keeper Jamie Ashdown had earlier dived to his left to save well from Romain Vincelot after a cleverly worked free-kick.

Other than that there were few first-half chances at either end once David Norris had fired narrowly wide for the hosts after just 45 seconds.

Noone almost doubled the lead ten minutes after the break when his curler was tipped away from the top corner by Ashdown.

Norris shot past the angle in response after running in to a knock down but that was a rare home threat.

Albion fell asleep at a set piece on 86 minutes but Norris reprieved them by skying his unchallenged volley before Lawrence served up the biggest let-off of all.