Writer: Alex Humpage
Date:Monday January 19 2009
Saturday 17th January; 15:00
West Brom recorded their biggest league win so far this season, and did the 'double' over the club where our manager made his name as a player for the first time in over 80 years. Those present at the Hawthorns witnessed a superb game of football that could finished with almost any score line.
New-boy Fortune was thrust into the attack in place of the suspended Bednar to partner Simpson up front, while the still injured Morrison meant a start for Chris Brunt. The back line was a very makeshift affair, with both Ryan Donk and Carl Hoefkens being given rare opportunities to impress due to injuries to Olssen and Zuiverloon respectively.
The game could not have started much better for the Baggies, with Chris Brunt receiving the ball despite looking several yards offside thanks to a deflection from a Boro player, then hitting a wickedly deflected shot past a helpless Ross Turnbull. The experience of defending a lead is not something that the Albion have to much of this season though, and the rest of the first half was a shaky affair, with Carson often tested and Donk having to really put himself about.
Afonso Alves in particular was a constant menace, nearly equalising seconds after the goal and having two other reasonable efforts during the half. With an injury to Barnett in the 39th minute, who made way for Pele, even the most optimistic fans predicted the spoils to be shared with an increasingly dangerous looking Boro side. Middlesbrough too were forced into a re-jig at the back, with Chris Riggott having to make way.
However, those worries were dispelled when a quarter of an hour into the second half, Bob Koren, in his best ever game in the stripes, hit a shot that was deflected in by Fortune for a debut goal. Boro were then down to ten men after Digard went recklessly over the ball, and five minutes after that Koren was able to seal an emphatic victory when Chris Brunt's delightful cross found him with space and time to tuck the ball away for a much deserved goal.
After that Boro were a shambles, and although the Albion could not find the fourth goal that would have taken them above Boro in the league, they nevertheless found themselves temporarily off the bottom and very much in the survival hunt.
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Date:Monday January 19 2009
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