A Fan's View: Albion 4 Rotherham 3 (aet)
By Site Editor
Updated Thursday, 27th August 2009
DonnyValdo gives his view on Albion's progression to the third round
I walked to The Hawthorns yesterday hoping to see a thoroughly professional display from Roberto Di Matteo’s men. I admit I haven’t seen a lot of Albion this season. For one reason or another I’ve only seen 180 minutes of football so far, and although I’m impressed by our start, I’m still reserving judgement on Roberto Di Matteo.
My initial hopes of a comfortable evening were dashed as soon as I walked to find my seat in the East Stand and saw the Chuckle Brothers playing in the centre of our defence. Before kick-off, Roberto Di Matteo claimed this was the final chance for a number of his squad to impress him or face being shipped out of The Hawthorns. I assume he was talking about the likes of Meite, Valero and Beattie.
Di Matteo made nine changes to the side against Ipswich with Kiely in goal; Cummings, Barnett, Meite and Cech across the back; Reid, Valero, Dorrans and Beattie in midfield; and Roman Bednar paired upfront with Simon Cox.
The Baggies started brightly enough with Craig Beattie curling home from 25-yards in the tenth minute. I suspect the effort was a cross but nevertheless found its way into the corner of the net. Albion took their foot off the pedal and found themselves level after a well worked Rotherham move. In truth I don’t think that Albion were even in top gear and finished the final fifteen minutes of the first-half on the back foot as the Millers pushed forward.
The second-half was similar to the first with Albion controlling the game, scoring, then being pegged back after another header. It would be interesting to see how many headers we’ve conceded in the last few seasons. For some reason it seems that we’re scared to death every time a corner is awarded against us or a free-kick around our area.
In truth the game was scrappy for long periods and neither team had the quality to get the ball down and dictate the match. Albion had an array of million-pound-plus players on show but all failed to impress.
Meite is neither a defender nor a professional footballer. Leon Barnett scares me to death whenever he’s near the football - I’ve never seen anybody a professional so uncomfortable within five-yards of a ball. For somebody so strong in the air he always seems to miss the import headers. Borja Valero cost nearly five million pounds yet yesterday he wouldn’t have fetched five pence! Mallorca must have been rubbing their hands together when they received the fax through that day with all those digits on. Craig Beattie still looks overweight and isn’t defensive minded enough to play on the wing. You can’t really knock him for scoring twice but, after being selected on the left, never touched the ball once with his standing foot. Reuben Reid, whilst starting brightly enough, faded quickly and I fear he’s a one trick pony. He’s another one needs to remember he’s got two feet.
This isn’t a personal attack on these players it’s the truth.
Believe it or not there were a few plus points! It was pleasing to see Roman Bednar back in first-team action. Roman needs games but we’ll be a better side with him in it. Graham Dorrans was the one bright light for Albion on a gloomy evening when even the most staunch followers will struggle to admit they enjoyed the match. Simon Cox might just be the ‘fox-in-the-box’ we’ve been missing since the departure of KP. He’s another one who needs games but when fully fit could be a real asset for Di Matteo.
Kiely – 7 - Solid
Cummings – 6 - Lacks quality and confidence
Barnett – 4 - To me to you
Meite – 4 - Fraud
Cech – 6 - Did well
Reid – 6 - Started well faded quickly
Valero – 5 - not good enough even against League Two opposition
Dorrans – 8 -Great goal; Man-of-the-Match
Beattie – 7- Didn’t offer much defensively; needs to improve fitness rapidly
Bednar – 6 - Nice to see him in an Albion shirt again
Cox – 6 - Worked hard enough
Mattock – 6 - Did well whilst on
Wood – 6 - Just needs a goal then he’ll fly
Mulumbu – 6 - shored up midfield