It only takes a minute, or ten
Terry Wills curses Albion’s inability to hold a lead.
Ah, the joys of being a Baggies fan. Ten minutes to go, a goal ahead of current Greed League champions Manchester City, they were down to ten men – wasn’t life great?
But within 15 minutes the mood had changed significantly as Albion supporters started to trudge away from the Hawthorns feeling they’d just witnessed a football mugging. The only consolation, for me at least, was realising that the billionaire-created clue half of Manchester had been the best side we’d faced to date. Even though a player short (it should have been two, Balotteli deserved a second yellow card) they played some excellent football, enjoying plenty of possession and by capitalising on our mistakes had snatched victory from the jaws of an apparent defeat.
The annoying thing, and that’s putting it mildly was that Albion, courtesy of mistakes from both the Head Coach and the players, had managed to lose a game as opposed to City winning it. Steve Clarke in his wisdom decided to replace Shane Long with Lukaku after our goal scorer has given us the lead. Why? Then Ben Foster, who rarely makes a serious error of judgement, did exactly that. Coming off his line, missing a cross, to be left with a forlorn look on his face as the City supporters behind his goal celebrated an equaliser in style.
But a point was better than nothing wasn’t it? If only.
Going flat out to snatch a winner, Albion pushed every player up front. A corner and disastrously Liam Ridgwell failed to control the ball. City pounced, a ball upfield and there was one solitary Baggies defender to combat two unmarked City players. The inevitable. Unmarked £30 million substitute Edin Dzeko wheeled away in delight as his second goal maintained City’s unbeaten start to the season, at the same time leaving Steve Clarke’s despondent side wondering just how had they managed to drop three priceless points. Especially as having the extra man meant Joe Hart in the City goal and his defenders were having to defend in the latter stages to limit Albion’s chances of increasing the lead.
But we move on. This week it’s another very testing game away at St James Park against Newcastle a team in form and hoping to finish in a top six position under Alan Pardew’s leadership. Clark has to decide what team to select – hope that the players who’d been well below their best against Manchester City can put that defeat behind them and start afresh.
A top form performance will be needed if Sunday afternoon’s travelling faithful band of Albion supporters will return home from a very long journey with wearing contented looks on their faces.
Something like those enjoyed by the City fans on their ‘short’ journey back to Manchester?