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Terry’s Baggies Blog

OWLS SILENCED AS THROSTLES SING

06-03-2008

It's a bit late, because he's only just come down from the ceiling. Yes, Terry Wills was at Hillsborough on Tuesday night watching Albion achieve a momentous victory that puts an automatic promotion spot back on the agenda.

Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes. As the song goes “Oh what a night it really was such a night” (Johnny Ray 1950!)

And THAT succinctly sums up Albion’s victory at Hillsborough when after a ‘miserable’ scruffy, untidy performance,e we snatched the winning goal so far deep into injury time Trevor McDonald was probably settling in his seat waiting to hear the chimes of ‘Big Ben’ announce the ‘News at Ten’.

Many Baggies fans are aware Sheffield Wednesday are something of a bogey team but with the Owls residing uncomfortably in the relegation end of the table the feeling was that THIS would be THE ideal opportunity to nudge ourselves closer towards an automatic promotion spot.

Team news. Roman Bednar and Luke Moore in a 4-4-2 formation. Kevin Phillips and Ishmael Miller in ‘reserve’ and Zoltan Gera taking the place of the injured Filipe Teixeira.

The first half can be summed up in one word and being polite let’s just leave describe it as ‘awful’!

Scrapping for their lives Wednesday closed down fast and hard never allowing the Baggies ANY time on the ball. In fact for the first 15 minutes it was sheer frustration as they dominated possession with the giant Enoch Showumni causing countless problems.

But for all their domination it was the Baggies who carved out the best scoring opportunities. Robert Koren forcing two fine saves from the keeper while Paul Robinson pushing forward squandered a reasonable shooting chance.

Wednesday repeatedly used the long ball approach but the rejuvenated central pairing of Leon Barnett and Martin Albrechtsen frustrated them to such an extent that Dean Kiely had little to do.

Ultimately it led to a miserable first half for the large contingent of shivering Baggies fans the unanimous feeling that if the deadlock was to be broken it would mean seeing ‘Super Kevin Phillips’ mounting his white horse and charging to the rescue!

The second half had to be an improvement however slight and at mercifully we saw ‘some’ resemblance’ to the passing game that a few weeks ago had taken us to Championship summit.

Screaming frustrated Baggies supporters, me especially (!) were screaming, imploring, and praying for the solitary goal that would ‘surely’ take the points seeing as Wednesday’s dangerous attacking efforts had diminished considerably.

Roman Bednar was injured in a goalmouth tussle but bravely carried on until the 63rd minute when Mogga’ decided enough was enough and sent on ‘Tiny’ Miller as a replacement.

Still no sign of a goal. Frustration and impatience was growing by the minute. “Come on you Baggies”. We knew Watford and Bristol City weren’t winning. “Come on, come on”

This feeling of frustration was being mirrored on the pitch not only by the ‘shallow’ performance of the players by the truly eccentric officiating of the truly hapless referee Andy D’Urso who remarkably managed to infuriate in turn BOTH sets supporters.

What a plonker, for want of a more apt description. All culminating in a clash between Jonathan Greening and Jermaine Johnson - he produced a red card for the home player and a ‘grateful’ yellow for Jonno.

Just prior to the incident Tony Mowbray had produced his ace from the pack.

On came Super Kev for Luke Moore. but with time running out, aided by Mr D’Urso deciding an extra four minutes would be added, IT happened.

Were we seeing things (?) Why were leaping around like a bunch of demented school kids? Why displays of oncoming madness? And why were the Baggies players leaping on top of each other replicating a scene painted in the days of the erotic Roman Empire?

But it HAD happened! Super Kevin had stole in almost unnoticed to plant a firm header exactly where it belonged. In the back of the net.

Mayhem? You had to be there to have seen it. A game won without much style or flair but who cared the Baggies HAD won and that’s all that mattered.

All of the tactical, cynical, time wasting of Sheffield had finally caught up with them and as the referee FINALLY ended the game in the 99th minute, the bitter irony of seeing Albion ‘robbed’ of victory by an injury time at the Hawthorns came flooding back.

That night a certain Mr Miller, who can possibly forget his performance, ruled out a perfectly legitimate Albion goal, ignored a foul on Carl Hoefkens that led to Wednesday scoring an undeserved equaliser in excess of his four minute added on time, and left both payers and fans up in arms and spitting blood.

The Wheel had turned full circle and JUSTICE had been done.

Time to contemplation. I joined in the Radio 5s phone in programme offering the opinion that although it’d been an untidy game we’d deserved the win stressing what had happened in the Hawthorns game.

Immediately followed by fuming Sheffield fans who blamed Andy D’Urso for sending off their player, and not punishing Jonathan Greening, telling the Nation that if Albion had Mr D’urso for every game until the end of the season we’d win the league!

Funny how opposing supporters see totally different games isn’t it. So on to Sunday and the chance to reach Wembley for an FA Cup Semi Final game against Chelsea or Manchester United, depending on their results of course.

Will we grasp the opportunity or see it disappear over the Bristol horizon?

Watch this space!

“Come on you Baggies”

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