After Tuesday’s loss to West Ham made it four straight league defeats the Baggies made their way to The KC stadium to take on another side struggling this season, Hull City.
Alan F-ing Irvine made four changes to the side which lost to The Hammers with the reliable James Morrison and Youssouf Mulumbu recalled. In defence, Sebastian Pocognoli returned at left-back and Gareth McAuley made his first start of the season alongside Joleon Lescott. Leading scorer Saido Berahino was dropped to the bench.
Albion again started brightly. Victor Anichebe was causing the home side problems – despite playing as the lone striker. He spun Michael Dawson on the edge of the area but was pulled back before he could shoot. Somehow referee Michael Oliver awarded the hosts a free kick!
Minutes later, Anichebe again rolled his marker and was bundled to the floor. Although this time Oliver made the correct decision and pointed to the spot. With Berahino on the bench, Graham Dorrans grabbed the ball. When the Baggies were promoted under Roberto Di Matteo, Dorrans scored several spot kicks. But he never seemed confident and his weak effort was palmed away by Allan McGregor.
The Baggies and Alan Irvine really needed Dorrans to find the back of the net. Yet despite the penalty miss, it was Albion who looked the more confident. Albion had appeals for a third spot kick waved away when Youssouf Mulumbu’s volley was blocked by Tom Huddlestone.
After the break
Hull were never going to be as bad as they were in the second half. The question was whether Albion would be able to go up another gear.
Both midfields were struggling to get a hold on the game. Albion looked threatening on the break and got into some good position, but time and time again, our final ball let us down. It also doesn’t help having no real width or somebody with the intent and ability to run in behind defenders and get to the byline. Not once yesterday did one of our full backs go beyond a midfielder and put a ball into the box.
Also, on the occasions we were in good positions, players decided to play a sidewards pass instead of taking a shot on. It’s clear that confidence is low.
Hull’s first real effort came in the 75th minute. Wisdom was ball watching as he allowed Stephen Quinn a free header. Ben Foster made a smart low save.
Gardner had Albion’s first attempt of the second half when his goalbound free kick was saved well by McGregor. Albion’s only other opportunity came when substitute Silvestre Varela picked up Berahino’s pass but saw his curling effort pushed around the post.
Albion needed a result after four straight defeats. However, it’s another game where Albion could and probably should have won. Hull were there for the taking. Just like Arsenal were, West Ham were and a number of other sides we’ve dropped points to this season.
Yesterday saw two poor teams play out a poor game. Albion had no imagination and lacked a cutting edge up front. Anichebe was a threat up front, but he never looked like scoring a goal. Sessegnon was busy but again never looked like scoring. On the other flank, Graham Dorrans has never been and never will be capable of beating a man. The less said about his penalty the better.
In honesty, there were few positives. One was that we ended our losing streak. The other was that we looked solid in defence – although Hull were as toothless as we are. Irvine’s decision to recall Gareth McAuley gave us a solid platform and we dealt with high balls and crosses better.
That was about as good as it got. Bring on the Villa.
Come on you Baggies.
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