A Fan's View: Albion 1 Forest 3
By Site Editor
Updated Tuesday, 12th January 2010
BaggiefromBromsgrove gives his verdict on Albion's disappointing home defeat
West Bromwich Albion made a monumental effort to ensure the game at The Hawthorns went ahead despite the weather but weren’t rewarded when they suffered a comprehensive defeat against promotion rivals Nottingham Forest.
Compared to our last league outing at Scunthorpe, there were three changes – all at the back. Scott Carson and Joe Mattock, who both missed that match due to suspension, were preferred to Dean Kiely and Marek Cech. With Abdoulaye Meite, away on African Cup duty, on-loan Romanian international Gabriel Tamas made his debut, alongside Jonas Olsson, in the centre of the defence. The return of Robert Earnshaw was short lived as he was injured in the pre-match warm up.
There’s little to report from the first quarter-of-an-hour when the two sides cancelled each other out. Then, in the 18th minute, from a corner that never was, Forest went into a shock lead. TV replays showed that it should have been a goal kick, but when Majewski fired the flag kick across the six yard box, Blackstock slid in front of his marker to volley inside of the post. Just as in the first half of our previous home match against Peterborough, we never really played with sufficient urgency to trouble a determined visiting side. We had no significant strikes on goal, the best move being a clever pass from Luke Moore for Simon Cox, intercepted by the alert keeper. A loud boo at the half time whistle surrounded The Hawthorns as we went into the break 1-0 down.
After the Break
The Baggies brought on Roman Bednar for Moore for the second half and began to show signs of improvement. However, within ten minutes of the restart, Forest had scored two more and the game was virtually over. In the 53rd minute Albion had chances to clear, before the ball was fed wide right to Cohen. His cross looked to have been over-hit but Majewski, from the narrowest of angles, hit a stunning volley which rocketed into the net off the underside of the crossbar. It didn’t take such a spectacular shot to give Forest another in the 55th minute. The Baggies’ defence once again stood off Cohen and he curled a shot from just inside the area, in off the inside of an upright.
Just before the hour, Forest should have been down to ten men. McKenna, in a cowardly tackle, went over the ball on Zuiverloon, but the referee showed him a yellow, rather than the red card he merited. Graham Dorrans was showing more determination than his team-mates and in the 65th minute set up a great chance. He powered down the left and played a sublime cross-field ball behind the defence into the path of Roman Bednar, who slotted his shot past the keeper. He also crossed for Jonas Olsson, but his downward header was pushed away by Camp. The arrival of Robert Koren for full back Mattock showed our attacking intent, but it was the late substitution of Cox for Ishmael Miller which roused the crowd. They weren’t to be disappointed. After threatening with a powerful run to the by-line in a subsequent attack he cut inside from the right and unleashed a tremendous left-footed shot, which Camp tipped over at full stretch. There were six minutes of stoppage time, principally for Forest time-wasting, but we were unable to reduce the margin of victory.
In truth we were outplayed by Forest for much of the match and their second goal was worthy of winning any game. However it’s remarkable that each of their goals went in off the woodwork. On another day they could have rebounded into play. It was frustrating to see another sluggish start, when we should have been fired up for a top-of-the-table clash. We need to do a lot of basic work before our next fixture, concentrating on defending and taking corners. The introduction of Tamas seemed to disrupt the defence, better, in retrospect, to have given him a place on the bench. Our midfield was lightweight against five Forest opponents, Brunt was particularly ineffective. Our two starting strikers failed to threaten, Moore being anonymous, but there was an improvement when Roman Bednar, better suited for a battle, came on.
The one brightest spark was the return of Ishmael Miller, who was hugely impressive. Excluding those two substitutes, the man-of-the-match is again Graham Dorrans, who although below his best, once more combined enthusiasm with skill. The referee did us no favours, incorrectly awarding a corner from which Forest opened the scoring, failing to deal with Forest gamesmanship and allowing the perpetrator of a horrendous tackle to continue. A definite improvement is needed against Newcastle United if we are to challenge the automatic promotion places.