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Terry’s Baggies Blog

ALBION SEEING DOUBLE

28-01-2008

Saturday's victory at Peterborough takes Albion into the last 16 of the FA Cup, and has Terry Wills dreaming that a unique Baggies double might be repeated.

A season’s second Cup visit to Peterborough. A second ‘comfortable victory - so who’s next on the Baggies hit list?

OK, the FA Cup has lost it’s appeal for the ‘Big Boys’ but for the 4,000 Albion fans who descended on Peterborough, the vast majority recreating a long lost terrace atmosphere, it was a pertinent reminder of those ‘halcyon’ days when a victory could eventually lead supporters to dream of a possible, if improbable, ‘magical’ Wembley appearance.

Of course everyone knew that promotion to the Greed League was and still is the overriding priority but when ‘your’ team takes the field to rapturous applause that feeling somehow doesn’t seem so important. There’s a game to be won. “So get on and win it for us”!

Team news: In an attempt to strengthen the Baggies ‘Achilles Heel’ at the heart of the defence, Tony Mowbray paired Bostjan Cesar with Martin Albrechtsen, recalled Paul Robinson after his suspension, chose Craig Beattie and Roman Bednar up front, and with Zoltan Gera suspended the creativity was left in the capable hands (sorry, feet!) of Jonathan Greening, Filipe Teixeira, and Robert Koren.

What did raise a few eyebrows was hearing that Kevin Phillips was on the substitutes bench. The general feeing being that it wasn’t worth the risk bearing in mind Tuesday's visit to Deepdale.

We saw the expected frenzied start. The ‘Posh’ bombing forward, and it was hardly comforting seeing Martin Albrechtsen slicing attempted clearances high wide and not very handsome.

They forced a couple of corners and brought Kiely into the action, but with no real quality in their build up Albion warded off any hint of genuine danger and it wasn’t long before the difference in class and technical ability became apparent.

Robert Koren and Filipe Teixeira became the puppet masters pulling the strings to start a series of attacks that had the home side back-peddling with the inevitable results.

Seven minutes - Teixeira to Beattie, a cross cum shot found the feet of Bednar and in his present form he wasn’t about to spurn such an opportunity. We were on our way.

Fifteen minutes and the ‘Boing Boing’ celebrations began in earnest. James Morrison saw a shot saved by the keeper, Craig Beattie failed to get a clean touch, but there was Robert Koren to nudge the ball over the line. Two up and in reality despite Peterborough’s reluctance to throw in the towel that was the defining moment in the game.

But did they have cause for complaint when referee Jonathan Moss turned down a penalty appeal after the ball struck Bostjan’s Cesar’s hand. Was it a penalty? Well, put it this way, if it had been at the other end Baggies fans would have been screaming for justice.

Dean Kiely was forced into action, tipping a long-range effort over the bar for a corner, followed by James Morrison being suitably placed to head a goalbound shot away to safety.

Half time and the main topic in the stand, and on the terraces had nothing to do with our game - more the astonishing news that Havant and Waterlooville were drawing at 2-2 at Anfield and had astonishingly twice taken the lead. Was the ultimate FA Cup shock of all time on the cards?

Looks of puzzlement as the teams emerged for the second half. There was Kevin Phillips replacing Bednar, a decision that led to the Cambridgeshire local radio commentator stating the blindingly obvious - “The Posh will have to keep a close watch on him, he’s a great goalscorer”

Again Peterborough pushed forward. Dean Kiely forced into an acrobatic save. The odd scramble around his area but a few minutes later the game was effectively sealed as ‘Super Kev’ hammered home his customary goal courtesy of a spot kick after Jonathan Greening had been pulled down when looking certain to score.

Out came the Red Card. Off went Craig Morgan. Three goals clear and a passage to the 5th round had been assured.

Two more substitutions. Chris Brunt for Greening followed by Sherjil MacDonald replacing Bednar.

Would this be the opportunity for MacDonald to halt his ever-lengthening period of time without a debut goal?

Well he certainly tried. He ran into the right position. Was obviously desperate to break his duck but at the end of 90 minutes the score was still Peterborough 0 West Bromwich Albion 3, and the Baggies numbered ball would be in the hat for Monday’s 5th Round Draw.

What may not be known to football supporters countrywide is that West Bromwich Albion hold a unique record. They are the only team to have won the FA Cup and been promoted in the same season.

Yes it was way back in 1931 – and while we all know this can’t happen in the modern day game, letting fantasy override logic, with Greed League clubs falling by the wayside, just think - if the remaining ‘Top Guns’ are drawn against each other and Albion get through, we’d be in the quarter final and just two games away from a Wembley Final with a very remote chance of repeating that feat.

NO OF COURSE IT WON’T HAPPEN. You know it, I know it, the whole of footballing world knows it. Miracles of that nature just can’t happen anymore can they?

But then who could have possibly imagined that a team such as Havant and Waterlooville would go to Anfield and twice take the lead against Steven Gerrard’s Liverpool?

So we’re off to Preston on Tuesday to face a team revitalised by their 4-1 Cup win at hapless Derby County. complete with ex Baggies Darren Carter and Richard Chaplow who have stressed they won’t do Albion any favours.

Tony Mowbray won’t be anticipating any, but along with the fans he will be expecting to return unbeaten.

It’s comforting to know that even a defeat wouldn’t be enough to dislodge us as leaders by virtue of our incredible goal difference, but it will be a far more contented trip back home if we have the pleasure of picking up three points to add to the celebrations we enjoyed at London Road on Saturday when Albion looked ‘Posh’ and Peterborough ‘the paupers’.

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