Terry’s Baggies Blog
POSH ALBION IRON OUT THE FLAWS
It’s a very merry Terry Wills who pontificates on the last few days at the Hawthorns and wonders where exactly it all went right. Having two of the opposition sent off might be an clue.
Well we did it. Two festive period games, six points, five goals scored, only one conceded. Teams challenging for the second automatic promotion spot conveniently dropping points (so someone up there DOES occasionally answer this Baggies fan’s prayers) and we returned home from a bitterly cold day enjoyable afternoon’s delight (!) at Scunthorpe feeling the journey had been worthwhile.
But in saying that there wasn’t too much happiness and contentment wafting around the Hawthorns on Boxing Day at half-time when supporters were left wondering if Albion’s players hadn’t performed against Peterborough simply they’d been stuffing themselves on the most unsavoury combination of food imaginable for professional footballers?
What a shambles. No flair, no bite, no inspiration, and little sign that barring a 100% improvement Posh would be riding home with at least a point that on paper could only have been found in the likes of a Mystic Meg newspaper column.
So why the difference and what happened to bring a MUCH needed swing in fortunes? In a word, slight exaggeration but you know what I mean, the softly spoken suave ‘head coach’ Roberto Di Matteo admitted he’d been forced to raise his voice to condemn what HAD been an awful display.
Message taken on board. Body language proving that hair dryer treatment can work. A much needed strike from Luke Moore followed by a very much appreciated own goal, finally securing the three points, although in the closing stages Dean Kiely, with his insistence on attempting to pass the ball (badly) to his defenders when a good old fashioned hoof up field would have calmed everyone’s nerves could have proved costly.
Certainly Albion deserved the points although a better team than Peterborough could have taken advantage of the early below par display.
Jerome Thomas in particular showing he posses pace and skill in abundance. On top form he’s more than capable of ghosting past the best of defenders and here’s hoping that next season he has the opportunity to prove that against Greed League opposition?
So on to Scunthorpe and a fond reminder of days now long gone when a tiny ground, a narrow pitch and the crowd just a few yards from the action was considered normal.
The Irons could have poached a first minute goal but they didn’t and apart from one other chance it was the Baggies and their fans who dominated the rest of the game. The opening goal by Graham Dorrans set the pattern, and the Radio Humberside match commentator and summariser were stressing “West Brom have some classy players and it’s not difficult to see why they are favourites to get back into the Premiership.”
And as the game progressed they too were admiring the skills of, among others, Graham Dorrans and Jerome Thomas, of whom they said “He’s like a snake, twisting and turning, no Irons defender knows where he’s going next.”
But even so, it wouldn’t be Albion without finding something to moan about would it? Straight after half–time Scunthorpe equalised following a goalmouth scramble meaning the game had to be won all over again.
Enter the referee, exit two Scunthorpe players. First red card and penalty number one smashed home by Graham Dorrans. Second dismissal and penalty but this time Dorrans on the verge of a hat-trick saw his spot kick saved by ex-Baggies keeper Joe Murphy.
Naturally facing a nine men opposition it was Albion who cruised through the remainder of the game and the points made absolutely safe when Gianni Zuiverloon smashed home the third.
Certainly this was a far more controlled performance than the Peterborough display. Confident on the ball assured passing, chances created and the three points (despite occasional lapses) looking as if they’d be travelling back to the Hawthorns at the final whistle.
Oh yes, among with many others I’ve had my pop at some of Luke Moore’s performances as far too often he gives the impression of being casual to the point of being uninterested at what’s going on around him.
Not this time. Whenever the ball was anywhere neat Joe Murphy he ran in hard and fast determined to make it as difficult as possible for him to clear it. A fact appreciated and not seen too often in the past.
So end of the year and a satisfying position in the table. A position most supporters will feel satisfactory and which if maintained will bring Greed League football back to the Hawthorns next August.
Saturday and it’s FA Cup action time. A visit to Huddersfield certainly won’t be easy but in saying that should Albion lose it won’t go down in the record books as being a major disaster.
Promotion is the sole aim and it’s the next league fixture that’s already the major talking point. Nottingham Forest, third in the table and yet to taste defeat from their 12 away games, visiting the Hawthorns.
A win will mean a very satisfying position but should a certain ‘Ernie’ Earnshaw pop feel in the mood to play at his devastating best then who knows what the situation will be cone season’s end?
But all that’s for the future, for now it’s simply the clarion call…
“Come on you Baggies”
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