A Fan's View: Albion 3 Blackburn 0
By Site Editor
Updated Sunday, 8th April 2012
DonnyValdo gives his verdict on Albion's win
This will be a shorter version than the usual account due to the fact that ‘SwedishBaggie’ will be giving his verdict on the victory after he’s return to his homeland later this week.
After meeting Swedish and few other board members in the Sportsman, it was on to the Shire to watch us face struggling Blackburn Rovers. I was pleased to see Graham Dorrans had been recalled to the starting line up after his bright cameo at Everton last week. However, there was no room for Shane Long, as Roy Hodgson picked Peter Odemwingie up front with Marc Antonie Fortune. Youssouf Mulumbu was also recalled in favour of Paul Scharner in the middle.
Albion needed a response and started really positive. The quick start seemed to take Blackburn by surprise as Rovers were under siege in the opening minutes. After deep corners from Brunt and Dorrans had already troubled the visitor’s goal, it was little surprise it was another corner which led to our first.
Chris Brunt whipped over a lovely corner from the right. Gareth McAuley pulled away to the back post and headed the ball back across goal. Rovers full back Martin Olsson stuck out a leg and diverted the ball into the roof of the net. Albion 1-0 up after seven minutes. Nerves settled.
I’m not a fan of Hodgson’s 4-4-2 formation, but it worked during the first half yesterday. Mulumbu and Andrews controlled the middle of the pitch and Dorrans and Brunt did well out wide. The midfield was assisted by Fortune dropping deep and Odemwingie providing willing runs in to the channels.
Albion controlled most of the opening half and only looked like conceding from one of Rover’s long free kicks or from the dangerous Junior Hoilett. The Canadian twice cut inside Chris Brunt and tested Ben Foster; however Albion went into the break deservedly in the lead.
After the break
Steve Kean has come in for a lot of criticism this season. But whatever he said yesterday during the break worked. Rovers came out with renewed vigour. They had the bit between their teeth and really took the game to Albion inside the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Pedersen headed straight at Foster, before the goalkeeper had to be on his toes to intercept Youssouf Mulumbu’s weak back pass before the on-rushing Yakubu. Albion for the first time in the game looked nervous.
Rovers were using their wide men well and exploiting their overlapping full backs. Rover’s Olsson played the ball into the feet of Hoilett. The forward fortuitously found Yakubu in the area who curled an effort towards goal. Foster did excellently did palm the ball away from 12 yards and did even better to stop Bradley Orr’s point-blank shot. The double save saw standing ovations from all four stands.
Albion were struggling to find any sort of rhythm with short passes going frustratingly astray. However, it would soon be 2-0. Brunt did well to take the ball off Yakubu and then dummy the forward before whipping over a trademark left foot cross. The ball missed Olsson but found Fortune at the back post who controlled before firing past Robinson from close range. 2-0 Albion and game over.
The Baggies again took a foothold in the game and controlled the final third of the game without being tested. A third goal would come in the final five minutes when Liam Ridgewell – the only Albion player in the box – glanced home Graham Dorrans’ free kick.
The scoreline may have flattered Albion, but Rovers did themselves no favours when substitute Modeste was shown a straight red card for a petulant kick on Billy Jones. Rovers look likely to go down. Albion on the other hand are safe.
Much has been made in the press and by so-called experts who have said that the scoreline flattered Albion. I’m not so sure about that. Apart from a 20 minute spell at the start of the second half, Albion controlled the game for long periods. Rovers only attacking force came from long free kicks or from the trickery of Junior Hoilett.
Albion suffered last week from a lack of creativity. But Brunt and the recalled Dorrans were much more lively. Dorrans in particular gave us energy and spark whenever he was on the ball. It looked like the midfielder we enjoyed so much in the Championship a few years back. Fortune also made a big difference up front. I was surprised that Shane Long had lost his place, but the Fortune/Odemwingie partnership worked well.
The victory moved us 11 points clear of Blackburn in 17th place. Whilst Albion are not mathematically safe, it would have to take a capitulation like the Dingles in 2002 for us to go down.
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