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Terry’s Baggies Blog

ALBION SHOW SHEFFIELD STEEL

03-09-2009

The Baggies are handily placed going into the seaso's first international break. Bus as Terry Wills reports, the trip to Sheffield United could have yielded more than a solitary point.

3-00 pm: Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Would be happy to return home with a point.

3-45 pm: Based on the first half, very happy not to have been a couple of goals in arrears

Final whistle: groans of disappointment. We’d failed to pull off a win that would have seen the Baggies open up a three-point advantage at the top of the Championship table.

But eh, that’s life and the probably thoughts of a majority fans most weeks unless I’m sadly mistaken?

Without doubt as the long hard battling promotion season hots up and games start running out, Sheffield United will be embroiled amidst a clutch of other promotion hopefuls praying their efforts will eventually pay dividends.

So until then who knows just how valuable this solitary point will turn out to be?

Following the close call against Rotherham, still finding it hard to believe the nine changes, it was almost back to normal apart from those nursing injuries. But one major surprise, Graham Dorrans on the substitutes bench. Presumably as he’d played the full 120 minutes in the Carling Cup game?

A great reception for Roman Bednar chosen to partner Luke Moore in a 4-4-2 formation. Let battle commence.

A run down of the first-half highlights’ – can’t remember any so on to the second half!

Hallelujah, a much sharper display. Defenders more assured,midfielders passing swiftly and accurately and THE most significant impressive feature, Roman Bednar twisting, turning, and probing, causing numerous problems for a Blades defence looking anything but sharp whenever he gained possession.

54 minutes and his reward. Sprinting in celebration towards the Baggies faithful after nonchalantly heading home a cross from Shaun Cummings. A goal ahead, and jubilation for all of two minutes until, as in the Rotherham game, joy turned to sorrow as Ched Evans levelled the scores.

Even s, this was turning into a far more impressive performance and with Graham Dorrans replacing Luke Moore and Roman continuing to worry United it was Albion looking the more likely to go on and pocket the points.

Just four minutes later and Bednar had done it again. A long clearance, shrugging off a challenge he crashed home his second. 2-1 up and optimism began to take over. “Come on you Baggies”
Naturally United continued to probe but with Scott Carson and the defence more assured, it was looking as if the RDM Promotion T train could be travelling home with a third away victory to be shunted and housed safely into their sidings.

Indeed in the 75th minute among others I was on my feet celebrating what surely would be a third clinching match- winning goal.

A Marek Chec free kick. Jonas Olsson unmarked from a ‘can’t miss under the bar’ opening.

“We’d won”… until being forced to look on in disbelief as somehow he managed to direct the ball over the bar into the despairing ranks of ‘head in hands’ supporters.

Encouraged and relieved United still posed problems and without being accused of seeing the game solely through blue and white striped eyes, referee Phil Crossley was seemingly looking for an excuse to ensure the red and white striped shirts would take advantage of some, lets just say, puzzling decisions.

Oh to have been proved wrong! Three minutes remaining and when Shaun Cummings bundled into Darius Henderson. A definite spot-kick for the home fans, a dubious decision as far as we were concerned. Up stepped substitute David Cotterill to make it 2-2. End of scoring and being honest probably a fair result.

And as news filtered through that Middlesbrough and Cardiff had both lost and Newcastle weren’t playing until Monday a muted the chant went up “We are top of the league. Say we are top of the league”!

Looking back it had been yet another ‘Pot Pourri’ performance from Di Matteo’s men. When they’re good they look very, very, good but when they aren’t …

Positives? No problems for Scott Carson-Joe Mattock an improved display. Jonas Olsson hardly put a foot wrong (apart from that horrendous miss) Robert Koren always industrious, Graham Dorrans making a significant difference coming on as a substitute, but overshadowing them all the performance Roman Bednar.

“Like making a new signing,” said Di Matteo post match. A remark Albion supporters certainly couldn’t disagree with.

So to the first international break allowing time to reflect on a positive start.
Lying second in the table (after Newcastle’s Monday night victory).

Undefeated with three wins and two draws. Promotion form but as the old song goes “It’s not how you start it’s how you finish”.

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