A Fan's View: Albion 1 Tottenham 1
By Site Editor
Updated Sunday, 12th September 2010
MKBaggies gives his verdict on Albion's draw
For me, this was my first home match of the season so I was quite excited. Although Mrs MK would say that isn't too difficult. After the usual organising of the trip, as none of us live close to each other, it was onwards to God’s own country. Warnings about the M5 junction held no water as we sailed in and parked on the verge at the top of the motorway exit ready for a quick getaway. Off to the Vine for some chicken tikka and a couple of jars. Interesting to hear Spurs fans saying what a refreshing change to be able to get into pubs and have a chat with fans from the other team.
With no Dorrans (out with foot rot, depression, alcohol poisoning and a pregnant wife) and Jimmy missing for three matches for daring to kick a Scouser who was trying to nick his ball, it meant a debut for Paul Scharner in his preferred midfield roll which 8-out-of-10 Latics believe is not his best position (that is not a percentage poll, that was how many fans in total).
Well, not much happened early on as Spurs gained control without threatening. Then a great move down our left, a ball played into van der Vaart who back heeled it for the on running Lennon who curled it high over Scotty's goal. Imagine if Lennon had scored! We were still struggling to make any impact and we were giving Bale and Modric far too much room. Bale had already threatened a couple of times after getting in behind Jara. Then a long ball into the box drew both centre halves in, Pav gives Olsson a little nudge and the ball falls kindly for Modric to finish.
At this stage it was hard to see how we were going to break through as we seemed to lack creativity in the middle. Then JT ran down another blind alley (was it me or does he seem scared to take defenders on? He needs to start believing in himself as he can do it) and fouled two Spurs players. World Cup referee Howard Webb waved play on and Fortune ran into the box and got his shot away. The save by Cudicini bounced up, Odemwingie challenged high and Brunt bundled the ball in at the back post with his arm.
Well if the first half belonged to Spurs the second half was ours as we took the game to them. Yet it was Bale, given the freedom of The Hawthorns in a pre-match presentation, who should have made it 2-1 had it not been for a great save by Scotty. He followed that up by turning away a rasping swerving shot from 25 yard by Kaboul. Then it was the Baggies’ turn as a corner from JT saw Olsson’s header saved low by Cudicini and scrambled away, followed by a curling shot from Odemwingie producing a fantastic save from the Italian stopper.
With 27 minutes left they brought on Robbie Keane to the usual chorus of 'Dingle Reject' and boos. And people here thought we would try to sign him. As if he would have come to us! Somehow we all felt that Keano would end up doing that gay celebration right in front of us.
But the move of the match, similar to the Tottenham one in the first half, deserved to clinch the points. A long run from Tamas saw him skip past a couple of tackles and play the ball into the box for Pete who back heeled it van der Vaart-like for Tamas to continue his run. In fairness he looked shattered when he got there and his shot started wide and went wider. Had it gone in, they would have talked about it for seconds on Match of the Day and we may have been promoted to third from last match.
I heard some say that the atmosphere without the drummer in the Smethwick was quiet against Sunderland. Personally, I attribute the noise levels down to my first home match as we got behind the boys well. It did go a little quiet in the second half but soon picked up again as the Baggies turned in a great display. I still can’t believe that 2000 away fans can keep so quiet for 90 minutes. I get the feeling that some teams fans turn up at ours just expecting to win and so don't need to put any effort in.
The defence was solid and Olsson, since getting back into the team, has hardly put a foot wrong. I also thought Shorey was very solid. The two guys up front ran their hearts out and with a little more luck could both have ended up on the score sheet. But for me, there was a clear man-of-the-match in Youssuf Mulumbu who was just about everywhere on the pitch, tackling and short passing in a perfect exhibition of holding midfield play. Epitomised in the last minute when he was injured in the Spurs half as they broke away and got a corner yet he got up and sprinted back to make sure he was covering the post.
Disappointed in the end to only get a point but I would have taken that before the match. But we now look like a team who belong where we are. But we do need to keep up that level of teamwork, so bring on the Bloos.