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Terry’s Baggies Blog

RIGHT ON TRACK

28-08-2009

Robert Di Matteo’s Baggies Express has started the season like the proverbial runaway train – although as Terry Wills reports there was a danger of derailment just a few nights ago.

The ‘RDM Promotion Train’ - an apt name (?) - is stationed at the Hawthorns Halt. Waiting to depart to the Steel City of Sheffield where Albion officials, manager, coaches and supporters will be hoping to see the destination yield another three points to match the wins at Nottingham Forest and Peterborough.

It won’t be easy unlike the convincing victory over Ipswich Town at the Hawthorns.

They can consider themselves VERY lucky not to have been on the end of a real battering. If the Baggies had taken a fraction of their chances and Town’s keeper Richard Wright hadn’t had one of his usual ‘spellbinding’ matches whenever he faces Albion, it would have been a very embarrassing 90 minutes for them and their few supporters to endure.

Some bright, swift attractive football established an early two-goal lead, courtesy of Youssouf Mulumbu and Robert Koren, and despite Ipswich having a fair share of the ball they rarely looked capable of making a serious challenge to Albion’s overall domination.

In a fine all round team performance Luke Moore gave his all despite, a horrific spot-kick ‘double’ miss - Jonas Olsson was his usual dominating self along with Youssouf Mulumbu, Robert Koren, and inevitably the ‘man of the moment’ Graham Dorrans. Another Graham Lovett in the making (?) only time will tell but it’s looking good for the very impressive midfielder.

On to the Hawthorns Carling Cup match against Rotherham. Surely an easy passage into the next round - but then how often have we turned an ‘easy’ game into a positive nightmare?

Team changes? Far too many for comfort with the early stages giving little indication of the drama that lay in store.

Roman Bednar made a expected welcome return but the next 120 minutes merely underlined that NINE changes from the team that had won on the Saturday proved to be a tad too many.

Craig Beattie opened the scoring with a cross/cum shot and with other chances being created but missed, inevitably a typical piece of non-marking saw a headed chance gratefully accepted.

Graham Dorrans restored the lead - he really IS a genuine find - only to see just seconds later another horrendous piece of non-defending allowing Tom Pope to level the scores at 2-2.

Extra time and of the two teams it was Rotherham causing most of the problems and in truth it came as no real surprise when one of the worst pieces of defending as can be imagined, Leon Barnett passing to Tom Pope, saw him put United in front for the first time.

Back came the Baggies and joy for the fans as Craig Beattie hammered home an equaliser. Could they snatch a winner? They could and they did courtesy of Simon Cox, previously ‘Mr Anonymous’ netting his first Albion goal.

Jubilation on and off the pitch with a 4-3 lead but late serious danger on the horizon in added on time as Dean Kiely was forced to make a splendid save from a very dangerous free-kick situation.

If you weren’t there and simply took the quality of the game at face value the impression must have been it had been a great game. Well it wasn’t and as the fans left the ground there were more groans than plaudits being discussed.

Plus points? A few - the return of Roman Bednar despite his obvious lack of match practice, the continuing influence of Graham Dorrans, and when he came on as a late substitute Youssouf Mulumbu adding much needed grit to the midfield.

Minus points? Too many to detail (!) but with Leon Barnett and Abdoulaye Meiti giving a fair impression of ‘Keystone Cops’ defending and others passing the ball to anyone NOT wearing a Blue and White striped shirt THAT just about sums up the overall display.

But a win IS a win so let’s leave it at that and offer fervent wishes that the fit regulars will be back for that journey to the Steel City to tackle United.

Will the ‘RDM Promotion Train’ return home with another three points? Based on the Rotherham game little or no chance.

But that was a relatively unimportant Cup match. The clash against a team that will surely be in the mix for promotion at the seasons end is far more important and on that basis I would be more than happy to return home with a point.

“Come on you Baggies”

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