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Terry's Baggies Blog

BAGGIES BACK IN THE GROOVE

29-10-2007

Two wins in five days at The Hawthorns have put the smile back on the face of our Baggies blogger Terry Wills.

Hallelujah! Two home games, two victories, back into third spot and a clean sheet into the bonus!

On paper the computer that supposedly compiles the fixtures seems to have been created with a human brain or the gift of clairvoyance, when randomly choosing newly promoted Blackpool and struggling Norwich as perfect opposition for a Tony Mowbray side still reeling from successive away defeats, painfully endured, courtesy of a trio of goals conceded at Southampton and Colchester.

First up Blackpool, Bostjan Cesar replacing Leon Barnett, and in midfield James Morrison getting the nod over Filipe Texeira.and in the early stages the 'Pool' literally 'did look all at sea'.

Albion dominated in terms of possession and chances created, 'Tiny' Miller opened the scoring, the floodgates were opened and all was right with the world. We should have known better! The defence reverted to type. Cesar and Albrechtson somehow managed to allow Keigan Parker to poach a goal and from then on the die was cast.

Level at the break and with the result firmly in the balance it was a real nervous time, for both team and supporters. The Baggies still managed to create and spurn any chances coming their way while Blackpool dominated in terms of possession. Were they being inspired by the noisy relentless sound of beating drums 'snuggled' into the Smethwick End, or did they really believe they could become the first side to win a league game at the Hawthorns this season?

Eleven minutes to go and out of the blue came a goal worthy enough to win any game let alone a taught fraught 'Fizzy Pop' League game.

James Morrison, a tower of strength throughout with his relentless work rate nd enthusiasm, crashed home a tremendous strike to leave the keeper clutching at thin air, team mates celebrating his wonder strike, and the Baggies faithful leaping up and out of their seats wondering whether they'd seen a mirage.

Blackpool were still reluctant to throw in the towel. Pouring forward and enjoying plenty of possession but a lack of any real fire-power meant Dean Kiely wasn't under as much pressure he could have been.

Conversely, they were helped by the eccentric tactics of full backs Carl Hoefkens and Paul Robinson, excellent going forward but in so doing allowing the Blackpool wide men 'acres' of space to get dangerous crosses into the six yard box in and piling needless pressure on the centre backs.

"Blow the whistle ref it's time" came the screams while for me, the Nougat Bar I'd taken to chew, was surplus to requirements. Who needs sticky sweets when ten finger and thumb nails were readily available! But eventually the game was over. The three points pocketed and those blasted Blackpool drums silenced. A far from convincing display but the win was all that mattered. .Surely bottom of the table Norwich City, the team in total disarray, would prove easier to overcome?

They were, and from the start they lacked confidence in defence, gave the ball away in midfield, were innocuous up front; mark them down as certainties for a very long battle to stave off the dreaded spectre of relegation.

Albion retained the ball with ultimate ease. They created and managed to miss a host of not too difficult scoring opportunities, apart from another 'Tiny' Miller header that gave the Baggies the lead, and so overwhelming was their superiority, if it had been a boxing match the referee would have declared it a no contest!

The second half followed a similar pattern with the crowd becoming extremely vocal and frustrated at the number of chances easily created and more easily scorned! It's all very well emulating Arsenal's passion for wanting to 'pass' the ball into the net but when it takes ten passes to move the ball forward five yards (!) it becomes a source of total frustration.

Mercifully Kevin Phillips nodded home a second to clinch the eventual win but as the game drifted towards it's inevitable conclusion, Albion's tendency to fall asleep at the back could have proved fatal IF the opposition had been any other team than this very poor East Anglian outfit.

But a badly needed victory. More encouraging displays from Morrison and Cesar. Phillips and Miller always dangerous despite scorning excellent goal scoring opportunities, while Tony Mowbray can consider himself fortunate to have a multitude of talented midfield player from which to choose.

It's Achilles heel time next week as the travelling faithful are bound for Vicarage Road, home of League Leaders Watford. Need I say more?

But after dimming Blackpool Illuminations and stifling the Canaries from Norwich can the Baggies complete a memorable treble by removing the sting from the Watford 'Hornets'?!

Watch this space.

"Come you Baggies".

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