A Fan's View: Albion 2 Peterborough 0
By Site Editor
Updated Sunday, 27th December 2009
DonnyValdo gives his verdict on Albion's victory at The Hawthorns
After recent less than satisfying home games against Cardiff City and Queens Park Rangers I was hoping for a bonanza of home goals against bottom of the league Peterborough United. The line-up was expected with Jerome Thomas looking fully fit again after his back injury which probably would’ve ruled him out last weekend had it not been postponed.
With Cardiff losing and Forest and Newcastle already having dropped points I expected Albion to come out of the traps with all guns blazing. However they were more like the start of sack race. The exciting Jerome Thomas had Albion’s first real effort on target after a cleared corner fell perfectly for a right footed volley. Thomas connected perfectly with the ball only seconds away from rippling in the net before a visiting defender bravely put his head in the way to divert it for another corner.
With Albion struggling to create any clear-cut chances it was the visitors who grew in confidence. George Boyd, a player I rate highly, looked like he had the beating of Zuiverloon early on with the winger whipping in a delicious cross that Kiely could only parry away as Mackail-Smith stretched for the ball.
It was Boyd again who caused Albion trouble down the left as he crossed over another teasing centre. This time, with Chris Brunt inside the area to help his full-back, the danger seemed over. However as Brunt stuck out his right leg the ball shot up and onto his hand. With the referee only yards away – a certain Mike Jones who gave THAT penalty against us last season at home to Blackburn – the whistle was put to his lips. As I waited for a penalty to be given Brunt cleared the ball and the incident was over. Those sitting in the Rainbow, Halfords of Smethwick ends may have not have realised but we were only a milli-second away from conceding a spot-kick.
After Luke Moore had stung the hands of Joe Lewis, Gianni Zuiverloon missed Albion’s best chance of the game so far. In my fictitious fan’s view last weekend I joked how Albion’s right-back was our new ‘jigsaw’ following Greening’s departure to Fulham. The Dutchman lived up to his new name blasting the ball high over the bar when only 10 yards out and Joe Lewis to beat following a clever ball from Jerome Thomas. The groan around The Hawthorns at least gave me some comfort that I wasn’t the only one totally disappointed by our first-half performance.
After the break
Thankfully the Baggies were a different animal after the break with Roberto Di Matteo’s harsh words surely still stinging their ears. I’m glad that RDM has that side to him. We certainly needed it yesterday.
The lack of creativity and casualness was a long forgotten as Albion played with determination, passion and a high tempo after the break. The ineffective Chris Brunt, who so often came inside in the first-half, stayed wide and had his best 45 minutes for a long while. Gonzalo Jara kept possession like we know he can. Graham Dorrans had drive again. Albion were back in business!
Albion bossed the opening stages of the second-half and were inches away ten minutes into the half when Jerome Thomas jinked his way to the byline before pulling the ball back. Moore only inches away from a tap-in. However for some reason it was his fault his legs weren’t two inches longer!
From a Chris Brunt corner Albion looked to have taken the lead with Joe Lewis flapping at thin air. Whether Abdoulaye Meite was distracted by the trailing limbs or simply not able to get his head in position I don’t know but the ball agonisingly ricocheted off him and over the empty Birmingham Road goal.
An Albion goal was coming and thankfully it was only around the corner. Dorrans, a different player from the first-half, picked up the ball on the edge of the Albion area and proceeded to sprit towards the Peterborough goal. With Thomas out wide demanding the ball, Dorrans continued his direct run and somehow fed the ball through to the waiting Moore. In one movement the much maligned striker swivelled and smashed the ball home under Lewis. The Hawthorns erupted! 1-0 to Albion. Three points hopefully in the bag and breathing space between ourselves and the chasing pack.
Moore seemed a different player after his goal. Their seemed an added spring in his step and he saw another effort blocked by a Posh defender following good work down the right from Gianni Zuiverloon. It was Moore who was heavily involved in Albion’s second of the game. Following a weak defensive header the striker shaped to shoot a first-time volley from the edge of the area. Fortunately he mis-hit his effort straight into the turf which rebounded kindly towards the BRE net. With Lewis Carson-like on his line, Dorrans looked set to hook-in past the stopper however Ryan Bennett headed into his own goal trying to stop the Scotsman. 2-0 to Albion. Relief!
With Albion now cruising they reverted back to the Mowbray-esque type of defending which many of us dreaded when entering the Shrine. Instead of the defenders or Deano clearing the ball up field Albion started playing the ball around the back – far too cocky for my liking! It almost came back to bite us in the arse when Olsson misplaced a header in Meite’s direction with substitute Batt seizing the ball and having a clear run on Albion’s goal. Outrushed Kiely who made a fantastic block to deny the forward. Albion’s clean sheet still looked intact and a nervy finish thankfully avoided.
Before the game I bumped into the BedfordBaggie under the BRE as we watched the final stages of the Sheffield Wednesday/Newcastle game. I asked him what the final score would be. “5-0” he said with a grin on his face. “3-0” I replied. As Albion again broke following a Peterborough corner, Chris Wood almost made my prediction come true as the young forward raced towards goal and sent his effort only inches past the post.
It truth it was a Jekyll and Hyde performance from Albion. It was essential we got all three points following the chasing pack and Newcastle dropping points. It’s clear that RDM’s half-time team-talk worked wonders with a number of players improving dramatically after the break. Hopefully now we can take the positives from the second-half into the Scunthorpe game...