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Terry’s Baggies Blog

"WE'VE DONE IT BEFORE..."

31-12-2008

The new theme tune ringing around The Hawthorns is, “We’ve Done It Before, We’ll Do It Again” as fans rekindle memories of the Great Escape. Terry Will reflects on a season of goodwill at The Hawthorns following Sunday's defeat of Spurs.

The enthusiasm as the final whistle spoke volumes! From all corners of the ground, apart from the section housing the Spurs supporters’ Baggies fans were, metaphorically speaking, dancing in the aisles.

Yes even in upper echelons of the East Stand (!) the celebrations and excited looks on beaming faces (more resembling kids on Christmas morning as they eagerly tear away the neatly wrapped paper to expose their presents) were long, joyous, and possibly more important, beginning to over-ride previously held pessimistic thoughts on the probability of seeing another dismal slide back into the delights of Championship football.

A second successive home victory including, Hallelujah, a clean sheet! Yes the first time in TWELVE games that Scott Carson hadn’t had the experience of bending down to pick the ball out of the net with the forlorn look of someone who’d been wondering why it had taken so long bearing in mind the quality of defending from his team- mates who had done everything but defend!

A desperately needed vital three points that in view of the happenings at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day was the perfect antidote.

I won’t dwell on the team selection and tactics employed by Tony Mowbray for a game that in truth no Baggies supporter realistically expected to see a positive result.

Indeed Mogga’ himself virtually admitted the Hawthorns clash against Tottenham was uppermost in his mind as he left out both Roman Bednar and Luke Moore, and selected Craig Beattie to be the lone striker facing a ‘Mission Impossible” task.

In a nutshell Chelsea ‘strolled’ to a comfortable 2-0 victory without having to extend themselves, a majority, if not all of the Baggies travelling fans wondering just why they’d bothered, and Tony Mowbray ‘praying’ the clash against Spurs would justify his controversial team selection. (A decision acknowledged by the media as the equivalent of waving a white flag of surrender even before a ball was kicked in anger)

So back to happier times, and of late they’ve been few and far between, the 2-0 win against Tottenham that left Harry (“ I never criticise referees”) Redknapp seemingly very willing to risk a stern rebuke and a hefty fine for doing exactly that as he waded into Steve Tanner’s handling of the game.

Tony Mowbray, with fingers firmly crossed, reinstated both Luke Moore and Roman Bednar, and to replace the suspended Paul Robinson, Marek Cech.

With nerves obviously taking centre stage, on and off the pitch, the tension was excruciating. Every time Albion made tracks towards the Spurs goal the crowd were full of anticipation and hope but conversely if Arron Lennon, in particular, moved anywhere near the Baggies defence this anticipation was replaced by a sense of mistrust and apprehension.

Enter Mr Tanner who evoked outrage from the Tottenham devotees by flourishing a red card in the face of Benoit Assou-Ekotto (wonder how many Spurs fans have paid out to have his name printed on the backs of their replica shirts!)

"Cheerio, Cheerio, Cheerio" sang the Baggies crowd and despite his initial protestations, post match, even Redknapp admitted it had been the right decision.

As the minutes seemingly fled by, and the frustration grew, it appeared the 10 man visitors would succeed in snatching an invaluable point while Albion’s need for three was becoming even more desperate.

On came Graham Dorrans and Craig Beattie to the resounding chants “Come on you Baggies”, naturally led by the always-fantastic Smethwick End fans.

Meanwhile Steve Tanner was doing his level best to prove that ‘Happy Harry’s’ criticism WAS justified. “Every decision went West Brom’s way. I knew what to expect as soon as I saw who was in charge, etc, etc”

Beg to differ Mr Redknapp as you conveniently forgot to mention the antics of your overpaid, over rated players who at the slightest hint of a challenge fell to ground as if struck by a sheet of forked lightning.

Cynical? Well don’t be surprised that when the next nominations for Oscar awards are announced some of the residents of White Hart Lane will be among the leading candidates!

Seven minutes to go and IT happened. A cross from Marek Cech, up leapt Roman Bednar, “Foul” roared Happy Harry as Roman’s header found the back of the net, “He shoved Michael Dawson in the back”.

Perhaps he did but if EVERY push, shove, challenge, and perceived dubious tackle was penalised the game would literally become a non contact sport. (And how often have Albion lost matches when such decisions have gone against them?)

Four minutes added on time. Four ‘long’ minutes to prevent conceding a late goal. An equaliser that would simply be hammering another nail into the Baggies seemingly inevitable relegation coffin.

A last attack from Spurs, the impressive Scott Carson pulls off a save, we breathe again and then what’s this? Speedy impressive Marek Cech accelerates past three despairing opponents. A pass to James Morrison, and alongside screaming for the ball is James Beattie. A certain goal, unless they somehow manage to ‘cock up’ a GOLDEN opportunity, which has been a remarkable feature of the season so far, but for once they didn’t.

Morrison accepts that Beattie is in a ‘no miss’ situation, a simple pass sees our recalled loanee from Crystal Palace whirling away in delight to be mobbed by his team- mates, the fans on their feet hugging their nearest neighbour in celebration and without a shadow of doubt (?) Tony Mowbray thanking the Lord, who is our Shepherd, for answering his prayers!

This win, coupled with other results means the Baggies ARE slowly clawing their way back towards the pack of clubs who also fear the dreaded prospect of slipping into the Championship.

Ok we are still propping up the rest of the league but now within striking distance of the likes of Stoke, Middlesbrough, Spurs, Sunderland, and Newcastle, and others, the New Year, and end of the season, could yet finish on a positive note.

Happy New Year Albion folks.

"Come on you Baggies".

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