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Terry’s Baggies Blog

SAME AGAIN AT CITY

24-04-2009

Albion go into this weekend’s game against Sunderland with manager Tony Mowbray just about the only person refusing to accept the inevitable. Terry Wills ponders another typical Baggies away day.

Another normal away day experience for Baggies fans.

Assembling at the Hawthorns ready to depart for the two hour journey to Eastlands, our expectations of avoiding relegation were flatter than a steamrollered pancake.

Although in saying that Albion’s record against City did suggest they could be in with a chance of returning home with a point or three providing they played as well as they had at Fratton Park eight days earlier.

A lovely sunny day. The first glimpse of the new magnificent ‘Maine Road, for some supporters, an unchanged team, boisterous support, let battle commence.

90 plus minutes later we wended our way back to the coaches in a subdued reflective mood wondering just how ‘Blue Moon’ City had managed to run out what on paper appeared to be a run of the mill comfortable 4-2 victory.

The reflection didn’t take long! It was basically a rerun of our ‘unhappy’ away day journeys to Bolton, Wigan, Everton, and West Ham. Games where Albion created but missed chances. Made fatal defensive errors when ‘bossing’ the opposition, a combination that spells out a single word…. DISASTER!

Early exchanges saw Albion dominate in terms of possession, creating reasonable openings, looking confident before the ‘inevitable’ happened. Robinho, the £32.5 million Brazilian superstar who hadn’t scored for City in 2009 wheeling away in delight after opening the scoring.

Unjust? Yes but not to worry here’s Abdoulaye Meite sprinting in to equalise, all he has to do is slide the ball home from ‘spitting’ distance. Looks of horror on faces as somehow he manages to emulate the ‘legendary’ Kanu miss against Middlesbrough! HOW could he have failed to score from such a close range?

The second goal came courtesy of a diabolic decision by the referee who along with his linesman, sorry assistant referee, failed to spot Scott Carson being elbowed in the face/neck before the ball landed in the back of his net.

Vehement protest overruled and a yellow card for dissent. Not your day Scott.
(Ironically listening to the semi-final match commentary on the way home what did we hear when referring to a goalmouth incident but “You’ll always get a foul on the goalkeeper in such circumstances”. Not if the referee is a certain Mike Jones who clearly has his own unique interpretation on what constitutes a foul on a keeper!

Two down but playing some very attractive passing football hopes were raised courtesy of the vastly improved Chris Brunt in the 37th minute as he turned and crisply beat the keeper. “Come on you Baggies”.

Mumblings of discontent from Radio Manchester commentators and summarisers. ‘West Brom deserve it, but City should be capable of notching up a clear four or five goal victory’.

Who said local radio commentators were unbiased at all times?

Second half and while City always appeared capable of posing problems it was Albion who posed even greater threats to Shay Givens.

54 minutes and it was ‘That Man Again’, not the wartime comic Tommy Handley, but Chris Brunt, thumping home a free kick to level the scores. 2-2 what a comeback. Now don’t throw away the advantage. The plea fell on deaf ears as within seconds Jonas Olsson conceded a penalty and the euphoria disappeared. Unjustly 3-2 down but then what’s new?

Time to go for broke with virtually everyone pushing forward for a third equaliser.
Despite creative passing movements, any scoring opportunities were just that, opportunities, to be scorned at will.

Added on time and still in with a chance of ‘somehow’ snatching a point the fans stood, sang, chanted, and willed for an equaliser before City took advantage of a now non- existent defence to notch their fourth and definitely winning goal.

Relief for City players and their fans. The usual disappointment for the travelling faithful.

An interesting subdued post match comment from City Manager Mark Hughes “We dug in and showed a lot of commitment particularly when they were getting back into the game and in the end we weren’t to be denied. Maybe 4-2 flattered us but we’re delighted to win after the week we’ve had”

Now the implications that the revolving Championship door again eagerly beckons, despite the ‘brave’ still wildly optimistic but natural views of Tony Mowbray, articles in the media aptly sum up the situation.

Jonathan Greening urges the players not to leave the club should they be relegated, in truth what he means is ‘now we’re relegated.

Tony Mowbray stresses the need to keep the squad together although he has to feel that should offers come in for his better players from Premiership clubs, Jeremy Peace may decide he has the final decision on whether to keep them or move them out to reduce the wages bill.

In this context James Morrison and Chris Brunt have already tactfully touched on the subject along the lines of “Naturally every player wants to play in the Premiership. No one knows what will happen in the future it depends on what the ‘Gaffer’ and the Chairman decide is best for the club”

Whatever decision/s are eventually taken all that matters for the remaining five games is that the players strive their utmost to bring a few long awaited smiles back to the faces of Albion supporters which for far too long have resembled the ‘World Annual Reunion of Hound Dogs’

This week another team, together with thousands of their noisy fervent fans, will be descending en masse to the Hawthorns willing their team to pick up another three points that’ll see them one close nearer Premiership survival, Sunderland.

Back in January on a thoroughly miserable day, and not only weather wise, the Mackems cruised to a comprehensive 4-0 victory. The Baggies despite sharing equal possession, creating a similar number of scoring chances, managed to put on a very depressing defensive display that led to some supporters walking out in disgust shortly after half-time!

Can Albion manage to reverse that dismal display? A performance that left every supporter quite honestly ‘brassed off’, disappointed and agreeing they got exactly what they deserved NOTHING.

In ‘sunny’ Manchester that was the reverse and for me, and surely any neutral supporter watching, they must have felt a certain degree of sympathy.

They played well above a team propping up the Premiership, controlling the game for long spells, but that counts for nothing if they miss chances at one end and contrive to make defensive mistakes at the other.

Another four goals conceded, making it sixty three from thirty three games doesn’t instil confidence for Saturday’s game so as is the wont of any Baggies fan all we can do is wait and count off the remaining Premiership games before anticipating and most probably disagreeing with the vital decisions to be made during the close season by Tony Mowbray and the Chairman.

Although whether they’ll be made in that order (?) has to be open for debate and subsequently examined nearer the time.

“Come on you Baggies

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