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Terry’s Baggies Blog

OH I DO LIKE TO BE......

05-02-2010

Blackpool in February to is a trip to test the most foolhardy of souls. And that includes Terry Wills.

Question-Was the very important victory over a typical, ‘awful to watch’, Sheffield United, won before the kick off?

Stupid question really, as thinking logically no game can be won without a ball being kicked BUT as the tannoy gleefully, and noisily announced, that Derby County had beaten Nottingham Forest the fans response, plus the Baggies first half showing, could be described as being little short of euphoric.

A win and three points, and we’d be off to Blackpool on Wednesday to play the game in hand that would see us leapfrog Forest into the second automatic promotion spot. A draw would mean being a single point behind, but a defeat, and playing at the home of the seaside town is never easy, would see Albion still trailing Billy Davies’ men by two points.

But first the game against the Blades. In the first 45 minutes we should have improved our already impressive goal difference. Another unchanged 4-5-1 line up and a sparkling display that could and should have seen United trooping back to their dressing room already dead and buried courtesy of another Graham Dorran’s penalty followed by Roman Bednar finishing off a delightful passing move.

But it’s Albion we’re talking about which meant expect the unexpected. Obviously Kevin Bracewell, United’s manager, had expressed that he wanted to see the Blades attempt to put the Baggies defence under pressure to see if they could claw their way back into the game.

From the start that worked. Albion slow on the ball, caught in possession, a spot kick and at last the visiting fans had something to cheer. Back in the game the Blades were a mere one goal behind. It should have been at least four.

Nervousness from the Baggies fans; without reverting to the first-half display the game could have done a U-turn. But just two minutes later the impressive Jerome Thomas netted in front of the Brummie Road to score the game’s final goal.

United as expected continued to push forward but at the final whistle we’d secured the three points knowing just how important would be the game at Bloomfield Road. So off to the seaside minus a bucket and spade. Other ‘oldies’ will know what I mean when saying that.

Yeeeees! It DID finally turn into a night of cheers. But not before a combination of ‘nwise substitutions, poor finishing, sloppy defending and a brave fight back from the Tangerines had left the 1,209 Baggies fans who had defied the weather forecast, praying for the final whistle.

Another unchanged 4-5-1 line up, and from the start it was Albion playing the type of football that has earned them so many admirers In saying that there are still some supporters who continue to‘knock DI Matteo because he isn’t Tony Mowbray, but that’s a question for another day.

For all that it was Blackpool who took the lead in virtually their first serious strike on goal, Keith Southern doing the damage. Itcouldn’t last, Roman Bednar, in superb form, equalised on 29 minutes although I wasn’t alone in thinking that if a similar type of goal had been scored against the Baggies I’d have been screaming blue murder at the ‘assistant referee’ for not flagging him offside.

It really was turning into a slick attractive display. Long and short passing moves that led to the Radio Lancashire summariser telling listeners “I’ve seen all the top teams in the Championship but none of them have matched this West Brom performance.”

It was that man again, Roman Bednar, sending fans into seventh heaven just before the break. Finishing off lovely skills and from the over lapping Gonzala Jara. Well on top at the break there could surely be only one winner when the second half continued in the same mode but as previously said, it is the Baggies we’re talking about!

More promising situations without any reward. On came new signing Andy Slory for Jerome Thomas - a decision that apparently didn’t please Mr Thomas. A promising debut, lots of pace and hope for the future.

Then things began to go wrong. The early composure was drifting away. Blackpool piled men forward and a defence that had looked so controlled began to look vulnerable.

77 minutes and the drum banging home supporters went into overdrive as their new signing D. J. Campbell equalised. A good goal, but then when defenders fail to seriously challenge, it always spells danger. It did.

More substitutions. Gianni Zuiverloon for Chris Brunt and ‘Tiny’ Miller for Bednar. “Come on Albion,” don’t let the game slip away now although no doubt Newcastle and Forest supporters must have been holding a far different opinion.

82 minutes- relief as yet again a referee pointed to the spot after Miller was bought down. Could Graham Dorrans do the necessary? Silly question. 3-2 but still the game wasn’t over.

Miller was injured, what’s new, and for the remainder of the game Albion were in essence playing with only ten men. Constant home pressure saw a shot hit the bar, the ball being hacked away by any player wearing a blue and white striped shirt.

It really was that close but we’d done it. Three points, back into second place. The uncomfortable dubious journey had been well worth making the effort.

Make no mistake this was a very hard, battling, display. For 75% of the game the passing and movement had been superb with. Outstanding were Bednar, Mulumbu, Olsson, and Jara.

Next up. Saturday-the long journey to Home Park to take on Plymouth, followed by a Tuesday home game against Scunthorpe. Two wins and six points? On paper yes, but games aren’t won on paper are they?!

So for the present I’ll be content to sit back hoping that we will do the necessary.

“Come on you Baggies”

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