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Terry’s Baggies Blog

DREAMING OF THE PREMIERSHIP

17-12-2007

Terry Wills went to bed on Saturday night dreaming Albion had played some great football and gone top of the league. Then he woke up on Sunday morning to realise it hadn’t been en a dream after all.

Wow what a performance! A 4-2 victory over third placed Charlton, it should have been even more decisive, and as shivering happy fans wandered away from a bitterly cold Hawthorn’s, apart from chatting about the game, most were already beginning to swap their allegiances from West Bromwich Albion to Plymouth Argyle!

A result for them at Vicarage Road and we’d be table toppers for more than a couple of hours. Although surely Watford wouldn’t drop even more points at home would they?

But back to the beginning. Encouraging team news. Players back from suspension plus the added bonus. ‘Super’ Kevin Phillips warming the subs bench should his presence be needed.

Early signs indicated Charlton, with four successive away wins under their belt and prepared to attack would be a ‘seasonal’ tough nut to crack but what they hadn’t realised was this Albion team were ready to pick them apart with a series of delightful inter passing moves that threatened chaos whenever they had the ball

The multi-skilled Teixeira; the non-stop workrate of Robert Koren, back to his best; Zoltan Gera: the threat of Roman Bednar; and at last, the ‘blossoming’ wing play of Chris Brunt. (What would the likes of Jeff Astle in his prime have given to be on the end of some of those pin point crosses!).

Amazingly Charlton managed to open the scoring albeit against the run of play. They’d somehow manage to survive a number of tantalisingly, teasing, crosses across their six yard box and Alan Pardew must have been breathing sighs of relief from his technical area as no Baggies player could stretch their legs sufficiently to add a final finishing touch.

The goal, a simple close range header from Iwelumo via a Jerome Thomas cross, was undeserved, but the ease with which Jared Hodgkiss was being ‘left for dead’ had already been a worrying trait.

More pressure. More close scrambles. Charlton keeper looking decidedly shaky, and Baggies supporters craving an equaliser. ‘Bingo’ just before the break we were on our feet! “YEEEESSSSS” a fifth goal in five starts for Roman Bednar after collecting a delightful pass from out favourite Magyar.

Boing boing’ from Albion fans. Silence from the few Addicks supporters who’d resisted the lure of staying at home to view the ridiculous televised 12-45 kick-off game. After all why bother to travel to ‘Gods Country’ when it’s cheaper to watch the best footballing side in the Championship turn over their favourites.

No changes at half time although Kevin Phillips must have realised that at some time Tony Mowbray would accede to the chants of ‘Super Kevin Phillips’!

There’d been much to admire. Tigerish’, harrying, and chasing from the midfield creators. Bostjan Cesar and Paul Robinson covering whenever Charlton threatened, and to be fair they always looked dangerous on the break, especially against young Jared Hodgkiss who looked vulnerable under pressure.

Then there was Chris Brunt. He of the ‘magical left foot’ at last showing the reason Mogga’ was so anxious to bring him to the Hawthorns. Cross after cross came into the box and in the 50th minute there was ‘Spring Heeled’ Zoltan Gera to replicate his headed goal at Leicester.

‘Damn, Blast’ …A soft equaliser, keeper Luke Steele underlining the fact that Albion DO need serious competition in this so vital position.

A ‘tame’ header, down went Luke and to everyone’s despair he allowed the ball to slip through his hands and under his body. A thought, was he wearing a pair of the woolly grey gloves being given away to Baggies fans outside the Hawthorns before the kick off ?

If so ditch em’ Luke, better to revert to the official ‘none slip’ pair!

Justice done- Courtesy of the Deadly Duo. Brunt set off on one of his rampaging runs, looked up to see ‘Spring Heeled’ Zoltan haring in screaming for a pass, he duly obliged with yet ANOTHER mouth-watering cross. The crowd were up on their feet .in celebration

Simultaneously Zoltan decided it was time to reintroduce his gymnastic skills by replicating those once seen by from ‘Ernie (whatever happened to him!) Earnshaw.

Still the entertainment wasn’t over. The predator was back. On came Kevin Phillips and with 18 minutes left it was ‘business as usual’.

Charlton failed to clear a free kick. The ball broke lose and after his first shot was blocked he nonchalantly did the rest before being swamped by ecstatic team-mates.

4-2 game over.

We were now league leaders and when later news came through that Watford had lost I still couldn’t quite believe it until I double checked the league table over a bowl of Sunday morning Corn Flakes.

The Man of the Match award went, not surprisingly to Zoltan Gera, but for me I thought the immaculate Chris Brunt at least deserved to share the award. But then all that mattered was the three points that put even more distance between Albion and one of more serious promotion chasing rivals.

So can the ‘Boing –Boing’ Baggies finish at the top of the tree come seasons end?

No doubt there’ll be setbacks along the way but ultimately if they continue in this form they won’t be far off being crowned worthy Championship winners.

Next up, and whisper it hushed tones, a visit to our ULTIMATE ‘ bogey’ team known to every Albion supporter as Stoke (cynical) City.

In conjunction with many I’m not looking forward to that in the slightest but then IF we can snatch a long overdue win in the Potteries perhaps we’ll still be looking down on the rest of the chasing pack around 17-45 next Saturday!

Come on you Baggies”.

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