A Fan's View: Albion 1 QPR 0
By Site Editor
Updated Sunday, 15th April 2012
DonnyValdo gives his verdict on Albion's win
It’s always nice seeing a friend who hasn’t been around for a while. Yesterday, at The Hawthorns, we were reintroduced to Graham Dorrans: a Scotsman with a touch of grace and panache when on top of his game and full of confidence.
The absence of a fully confident Graham Dorrans has been a big loss to Albion. A couple of years ago he was the best player in the Championship by a country mile. West Ham’s £5 million bid was even laughed at by Albion’s hierarchy.
However, since our promotion, Dorrans has been half the player he once was. There has been glimpses of his talent, but he’s been a walking shell, struggling to even figure in the matchday squad.
In recent weeks though the Dorrans of old has found his way back to the pitch. Against Blackburn, albeit from a wide position, he looked full of confidence, looked fit again, and – more importantly – showed touches of grace, skill and panache which made him such a fans favourite.
He did OK at Manchester City out wide again on Wednesday, but yesterday, the old Graham Dorrans we’ve longed for returned in the centre of midfield.
Hodgson made six changes to the side which was brushed aside at the Etihad. It would’ve only been five had Jonas Olsson not pulled a groin in the warm up. Craig Dawson – unlucky to be dropped after his performance against City – stepped in.
Albion were given an early scare inside the first couple of minutes when Ben Foster had to be on his toes to block Bobby Zamora’s point-blank volley after he held off Gareth McAuley.
The scare brought Albion to life and Peter Odemwingie should’ve scored in the eighth minute when Marc-Antonie Fortune robbed Derry 20 yards out and fed his strike partner. Odemwingie raced onto the ball but shot wide from an acute angle.
With Rangers playing five in midfield, Dorrans and Mulumbu had to work hard to get a foot-hold in the game. They did that well and Albion were moving the ball around with pace and purpose. Dorrans in particular caught the eye – even completing the odd nutmeg!
Yet there was more to come from the Scotsman. Dorrans collected the ball after Mulumbu and Thomas had done well. The crowd shouted for him to shoot from thirty yards. He did so and the ball rocketed its way into Paddy Kenny’s net. The ‘keeper got a hand on the ball, but there was too much power. A fantastic goal worthy to win any game.
It should’ve been 1-1 towards the end of the half when Zamora somehow headed wide from only a matter of yards out.
After the break
In the early stages of the second half, it looked like a case of déjà vu as we struggled to get hold of ball and string any number of passes together.
When we did get the ball down, we created the best move of the match. Brunt found Odemwingie down the right. The striker ran on to the ball and back-heeled it into the path of the on-rushing Billy Jones. The defender stayed calm but could only direct his shot on to the post.
Long replaced the injured Fortune just after the hour mark as Albion seemed intent on sitting back and soaking up the pressure
We were very much relying on the counter attack as Rangers swapped defenders for strikers. Zamora missed another chance for QPR after Ridgewell had misjudged the bounce.
Brunt’s free kick tested Kenny, but Albion, at this stage, were happy to let Rangers have the ball and defend the 18 yard box. Whilst Rangers had plenty of possession after the break, Ben Foster was never really troubled. Dawson struggled against the strength of Zamora, but played well otherwise.
Rangers were throwing more players forward and Albion should’ve extended their lead towards the end when Long ran on to a through ball but couldn’t shake off Onouha and fired wide
It was another solid performance from Albion. Nothing to get overly excited about, but three points is three points. Albion did well before the break but then seemed happy to soak up the pressure instead of searching for a second which would’ve killed off Rangers.
The victory saw Albion move past the coveted 40-point mark and comfortably away from the relegation zone. Let’s hope we can continue grinding out victories until the end of the season and finish as top Midlands club.
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