Writer: Alex Humpage
Date:Monday November 3 2008
Saturday 1st November; 15:00
West Brom stopped the rot of three defeats on the trot but only managed one point after ex-dingle Keith Andrews scored in the last minute to prevent the stripes taking the full share of the spoils.
Mowbray rewarded Miller for his fine goal in the week against Newcastle by paring him with Roman Bednar up front, with Chris Brunt the man making way. The defence was unchanged despite the calamitous errors that have marked the last few matches - and bang on cue, just 13 minutes into the game Ryan Donk engaged in the most blatant shirt-pulling on former Albion striker Jason Roberts inside the box, from which Benni McCarthy gave Carson no chance and handing an early lead on a plate to Blackburn.
The young Dutch defender had given an equally silly penalty away after only 8 minutes of the midweek game, and will have to be careful not to be awarded the title, and small extension of his name, Donkey after this latest error. Whilst very few referees would award a penalty for the tug, it was a foul, clearly against the rules and right in front of Mike Jones, who was refereeing his first Premiership game.
McCarthy and the ref were at the centre of the next point of interest in the game; though this time, minutes after a rash challenge on Greening which had earned him a booking, he jumped for a long ball only just inside the West Brom half, and as the ball went away from him he stuck a high arm out to control it - second yellow card, and Blackburn down to ten men. Again the referee was correctly applying the law, but he came in for huge criticism from both managers, fans and pundits for doing so.
Blackburn held on for the rest of the half but Albion began to utilise their one man advantage, and Mowbray spared Donk any more blushes by bringing the previously derided Hoefkens in for him at half time. The Baggies started the second half explosively, with Miller cracking an effort off the upright and Ryan Nelson cannoning an attempted clearance off the bar. Any worries that it wasn`t going to be one of those day were soon expunged however, the lively Roman Bednar in a great position to receive a pass from Miller just inside the box, and keeping his head under pressure to slot the ball inside the right post for the equaliser.
West Brom were galvanised by the goal, and continued to produce the sweeping football, mounting a series of fluid attacks against the deflated and numerically disadvantaged visitors. The dominance soon paid further dividends, this time Miller fully justifying his inclusion when he latched onto a excellent pass from Jonathan Greening, and deftly slotted the ball into the far corner from outside the box on his favoured left foot. The goal was similar in its development to the beautiful effort that Miller scored mid-week; capping a lovely passing move and deservedly giving the stripes the lead.
The Baggies looked well set for the victory and all three points, but with one minute left on the clock, former Wolves man and Ince`s captain at MK Dons picked up the ball 30 yards out, and as he approached goal with Robinson standing off drilled a shot past the helpless Carson to send Rovers back to the northwest with a point, and denying Mowbrays men a much-needed victory.
More defensive howlers were the order of the day, and Donk definitely needs a rest after two ludicrous errors in four days. Hopefully Meite will be fit next weekend, when the Albion face Liverpool before our next home game against Chelsea a week later. That`ll be nice and easy then. Miller looks a different player from the confidence shorn striker who missed a haltful earlier in the season, his goal at Newcastle will hopefully now be the spur to provide more goals of the quality he scored today.
The referee dominated the discourse but despite his inexperience the decisions he made were correct. Despite the fact both would go unpunished on more occasions than not is a fault that lies with the other officials and not this one, as there is no 'interpretation` of the laws - they are quite clear.
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Date:Monday November 3 2008
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