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Terry’s Baggies Blog

BRISTOL BANISHED

25-11-2009

Albion supporter Terry Wills gives us his lowdown on how the Robins were sent bobbing.

They came unbeaten in seven games, had lost fewer matches than any team in the Fizzy Pop league, only conceded six goals in 16 games, had the backing of the largest crowd of away fans seen at the Hawthorns since the Toon Army invaded on the opening day, and who prior to kick off were in no doubt THEY were the team to put a stop to the Baggies impressive displays that had seen off Watford and Leicester City. (Oh yes they were another of those teams who believe that after geeing themselves up for a week, realising the importance of a good performance, they needed a last minute team huddle confirm they hadn’t forgotten what their manager had presumably been drilling into them should it have slipped their memory?)

They were the Red, Red, Robins of Bristol City a team that on the day DID play well with a performance of smooth passing and movement that may have seen off lesser teams, but against the current resurgent Albion left for home well and truly beaten and in truth IF the Baggies had taken advantage of the numerous openings created, could have been efficiently stuffed as will the thousands of turkeys four weeks hence!

Ironically, from City’s point of view, it could have been their fans celebrating after just three minutes. A last ditch clearance from Gianni Zuiverloon was gathered by Graham Dorrans, he set up Jerome Thomas for a jinking run and how we celebrated the sight of their keeper picking the ball out of the net beaten by a cracking finish. We were on the way.

A few minutes later and it was Chris Brunt latching on to a through ball, jinking round the keeper to succinctly slip the ball into the net ever so slowly. or a moment we wondered if it would roll over the line, but it did and from then on despite Bristol playing some attractive football I hadn’t the slightest doubt our finest would be pocketing another win bonus for a job well done.

And following a third and fourth, first courtesy of an own goal followed by Simon Cox netting a minute later, to all intents and purposes that WAS it.

To their credit City continued to look dangerous via a combination of accurate passing and intelligent movements but whenever Albion put them under pressure they looked vulnerable.

Almost inevitably a degree of complacency began to creep in. Casual inaccurate clearances and sloppy passing allowed Bristol to raise their supporters hopes of at least a consolation goal which duly came in the 83rd minute courtesy of an unstoppable free-kick from Paul Hartley.

This was another impressive performance from Roberto Di Matteo’s (hopefully?) ever-improving Albion, who seem well on the way to knowing what combination of players and tactics are needed to counter most opposition.

The defence is looking far more resolute, the midfield constructive and willing to tackle with more bite than earlier in the season while the current chosen two in a 4-4-2 formation, Luke Moore and Simon Cox, are willing to chase and harry defenders.

Bearing in mind that we still have Roman Bednar to come in, plus eventually Ishmael Miller and James Morrison, the signs appear to be good for a successful attempt to return to the Greed League.

It’s a truism that the strength of a team is the players who would normally be automatic choices but find themselves waiting to claim a place, particularly Robert Koren and Filipe Teixeira. In the case of Koren reports indicate that RDM is hoping to persuade the Slovenian captain he has a future at the Hawthorns despite not being first choice.

But there’s still a long way to go before season’s end and again it’s Newcastle who top the table courtesy of a far from impressive win at Deepdale on Monday night. Not that that will worry them. All that matters is winning matches and the Toon Army will gladly suffer that as long as it keeps them in one of the automatic promotion spots.

Next up are successive away games at Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County and as every pundit, supporter, manager will tell you the more they’re taken advantage, the better the chances of promotion come season’s end.

After sending Bristol City home pointless RDM said “It was an excellent performance - we had to be strong to beat a very good Bristol City side so please don’t get used to it! We can’t get any better than you could expect us to be given we have a young squad and don’t have Ishmael Miller or  James Morrison who are both very big players for us”

The players also know there’s a long way to go and the opposition will be determined to show they’re up for the challenge.

Will they do it? In some games they will but as long as the Baggies continue in the same vein we should feel optimistic that next season Greed League opposition will be on our fixture list.

It’s a long way off but providing points are gathered on our the current air of confidence will still be high amongst the board, managers and players, plus of course us supporters, ending on May 2nd 2010.

All we can do is wait and see!

“Come on you Baggies.”

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