Writer: Alex Humpage
Date:Sunday August 31 2008
Saturday 30th August; 15:00
West Brom got off the mark today with a point in their game against Gary Megson`s Bolton Wanderers side. All the creativity belonged to the away team, but despite several good chances we could not make the onion bag bulge; we also had to withstand a late rally from Bolton in which two goals were thankfully, and correctly, ruled out for offside.
There was only one change from the team that went down at home to Everton, with a league debut for record signing Valero in place of Chris Brunt; Mowbray sticking with the 4-5-1 with Kim in the hole behind Miller. It was a fairly evenly paced first 20 minutes, then Morrison, who looked in much better nick than any of his previous outings this year, found a bit of space 25 yards from goal, looked up and struck a peach of a shot curling toward the top corner. Jaaskaleinen did a great impression of superman and diving at full stretch tipped it round the post. Minutes later Miller clashed with the Wanderers keeper and need treatment. Not long after that a lovely flowing move down the left from the Baggies presented Valero with a chance to open his account but he shot tamely at the big Finn.
Albion were very much the dominant force and Bolton were lucky to go in not only level, but also equal in numbers as Nolan and Davies were both guilty of suspect challenges toward the end of the half. Meite picked up a knock just before the whistle and was replaced at the start of the second half by Hoefkens, pushing Zuiverloon into the middle. Albion came out as they had gone in, and Miller should have scored when put through by Robinson but hit his shot over with the goalie beaten. Bolton picked up some impetus in the second half, and garnered a plethora of set pieces around the Albion box - one such kick saw Riga forcing a save from Carson that was equal to Jaaskaleinen`s in the first half.
Albion should have settled the game when Kim, who was again quality throughout, hit a thunderbolt from thirty yards only to see the ball bounce from the underside of the bar, on the line, then out again. Miller followed it up, and only he will know how he didn`t score, heading it straight into the arms of the grateful Bolton keeper. The last ten minutes saw Bolton twice get the ball in the net, both times through Davies, both times correctly ruled out for offside. Few would argue with Megson`s post match comments that the game could have been a 3-3 or a 3-2 either way, such were the chances.
Albion had the better of the match again, and with a point on the board can take heart from the performance. A striker coming in to partner the new centre back Olssen in giving the squad the final bit of competition would be great with a mere 48 hours of the transfer window left, though this midfield will create enough chances for our forwards to put away. Miller needs a goal, but I think when such an event does occur it`ll spur him on and he`ll get bunches. On a final note it was great to see the Baggies faithful singing to Megson after the match - and seeing the Ex Boss wave back.
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Date:Sunday August 31 2008
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