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Terry's Baggies Blog



Part one of mission completed. Plymouth Argyle’s team and supporters as expected facing the long trip back to the West Country in a sombre mood courtesy of a sparkling Albion display that confirmed the three points were as good as in the bag long before the kick-off.

Well, that's how it a 3-1 win would probably have registered with those who casually watched the TV highlights or read various press reports.

BUT nothing could be further from the truth. From my perspective and seemingly the majority of fellow Baggies the first 20/30 minutes had seen a display more resembling Argyle’s struggling plight.

It was a sloppy, casual start - defenders marking acres of empty space instead of the opposition, midfielders strolling around enjoying 90 minutes of very pleasant sunshine, and forwards posing little or no threat.

12 minutes and Plymouth were ahead courtesy of a casual defensive lapse by Shelton Martis, brushed aside by Jamie Mackie to calmly slide the ball home. ‘Ouch’…

10 minutes later and REAL worries. Mercifully relieved as Gary Sawyer with all the time and space he could possibly have wished for scorning the opportunity. The fans reaction? A Hawthorns rarity these days a smattering of boos as opposed to the early impressive noisy support.

It worked. 34 minutes Shelton Martis, atoning for his error, from close range levelling the scores. At last a notable quickening of pace topped off as Marek Cech scored his first ever Baggies goal with a stunning finish just six minutes later. Now well on top and a pity the half-time whistle came to Argyle’s rescue.

A third goal and it would have been all over, wouldn’t it?

Second half's and it 3-1 “Oh yes it is”-“Oh no it isn’t”! Delight as Marek Cech slotted home his second goal. Confirmed by the sight of his picture being flashed onto the giant television screens, Tony Brown in raptures commentating during his normal Baggies local radio station and players running back to the centre circle in celebration.

They couldn’t really be blamed but unfortunately an eagle eyed, or should it be a short sighted assistant referee had raised his flag to signal an offside decision.

Was he right or wrong? Let’s just say if it was correct, it was one of the few the trio of hapless officials managed to get right from kick-off to the final whistle. Ultimately it didn’t affect the result seeing as Marek nodded home his secondand the Baggies third in effect wrapping up the three points.

Even so Plymouth still managed to pose problems. Frequent high balls launched into the Baggies penalty area causing confusion the defence and a sense of foreboding among the fans. But hey the points were ours. Albion
were again top of the league until Newcastle duly did the business at Cardiff 24 hours latter.

Part two of mission completed. A second successive Hawthorns 3-1 victory against Doncaster Rovers and fans streaming away celebrating in a very contented confident mood.

IF only! Early stages and a reprise of the Argyle game. Sloppy, and I really mean sloppy defending, allowing Waide Fairhurst to tap home from close range. Rovers ahead. But then if you allow the opposition to acres of space, fail to markplayers and give the impression they’re thinking ‘don’t worry’ it’ll turn out all right at the end, THAT can be little short of disastrous.

Rovers arriving with a reputation for playing flowing attractive football continued to pose problems but again it was a defender, Jonas Olsson, who equalised after 20 minutes with a close range header.

First substitution of the night Marek Cech limping off to be replaced by Jerome Thomas. Certainly more possession but when awarded free kicks in what are termed ‘promising positions’ on both sides of the pitch were deliveries that could only be described as little short of laughable.

Surely the second 45 minutes would see a massive improvement? It wasn’t, but in the 66th minute there was Jonas Olsson heading his second goal of the night from a free kick and doubtless leaving below par Rovers feeling distinctly unlucky to find themselves in arrears.

Not that this showed as they dominated possession and should have equalised but unbelievably, from VERY close range, Brian Stock contrived to steer the ball wide. Needless to say he’d found himself totally unmarked-oh well!’

More nail biting. Off went Chris Brunt to be replaced by Chris Wood, and it was the young Kiwi who subsequently and gloriously won the game as he crashed home what will surely even at this early stage be voted ‘Albion’s goal of the Season’

Pleased? You bet! He sprinted towards the Brummie Road fans (even quicker than a certain Mr Abedayor did towards the Arsenal fans!) punching the corner flag to share their sheer jubilation, and relief, knowing that to open his Albion account with such a stunning effort would never be forgotten.

Massive sighs of relief- 3-1 the points were safe as long they managed to retain possession, which was never easy against a very good Doncaster side.

Summing up. Another below par display but all that mattered was the result. Albion can and will play much better than this but in turn will drop points, but eh that’s how it goes.

So still unbeaten but sadly and inevitably fans know this run will eventually come to an end and I feel this will happen in one of the next two away games. Middlesbrough first up and a result at the Riverside would be a bonus bearing inmind come next May they’ll be a major obstacle in the race to grab one of the top two spots.

Then it’s midweek trip back to the Emirates and even though the Gunners will be fielding their second string can anyone really believe we’ll make progress into the next round of the Carling Cup?

No me neither! I’d prefer to go out on the back of a promising display in the cup as opposed to dropping valuable points against the Boro’.

“Come on you Baggies”



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