Dismal Albion undone by ex-Baggie Beattie
20 October 2009
Ex-Albion striker Craig Beattie scored against his former club and secured an impressive away win for Swansea against the league leaders.
The kick-off for this game was delayed by 15 minutes as fans struggled to get to the game through the traffic congestion. At the end of it, I wasn't sure if the Albion team were also still stuck on the Aston Expressway.
Initially Albion started tentatively with nervous build-up play and little cohesion. This was much the same as the Reading game at the weekend and in that case we needed our first goal to really get firing.
Graham Dorrans had a few wild attempts on goal and Jerome Thomas spent most of his time trying to win fouls and penalties rather than focusing on his footballing game.
As the rain started to come down, pass inaccuracy was matched by more woeful set pieces from the Baggies. I don't know why this is still an area of concern for us and I would expect Roberto Di Matteo to share some of his Italian class in this department.
Swansea took advantage of uncertainty at the back on several occasions in the first half with Cedric Van der Gun shooting wide in the 39th minute.
Cech and Thomas swapped wings towards the end of the half, and despite the dysfunctional performance of Di Matteo's men it seemed that he was trying to make some adjustments to put things right.
First Half 0-0
After the break Albion made two changes, Filipe Teixeira coming on for Marek Cech and Robert Koren on for Luke Moore; they started brightly with a bit more urgency and bite to their play.
But, this little spark of hope was soon extinguished by an inevitable goal by former Baggie Craig Beattie. A driving shot from inside the box by Beattie flew past Carson and finished up in the bottom right corner.
Swansea continued to build on their superior organisation as Albion just tried too hard and made too many mistakes. Teixeira still looked a threat but Swansea kept their shape and kept it solid at the back. Simon Cox continued to warm up on the touchline.
After the goal Albion increased their possession and Wood started to come into the game a bit more. Zuiverloon pushed up to support the front players and to keep the pressure on the Swansea defence.
Albion looked as if they couldn't rely on a spark of genius to get level but must resort to a relentless barrage to break down the resilient Swans. Cox, having come on in the 73rd minute to replace Joe Mattock, quickly got into the game with his first touch but shot wide of the left post when he should have done better.
Swansea continued to press with Butler forcing a good save from Carson and a clearance from Jonas Olsson as they looked to extend their lead. A last chance from Wood was too little too late and was never enough to make up for a poor display and a return, it would seem, to the stuttering performances we have seen of late.
The lack of quality up front was really evident with Albion tonight. With Roman Bednar out and Ishmael Miller still injured there was a lot of responsibility loaded onto the young shoulders of Wood and Cox. Tonight, and not for the first time, we missed the experienced head of Kevin Phillips or, dare I say it, Craig Beattie.