Blackpool v West Brom
1 November 2010
A game of much expectation was ruined by some poor decisions by referee Michael Oliver. The game had been billed as one that would feature plenty of goals, there were goals but the game, as a contest, was effectively ended after half hour.
Oliver gave a penalty to the hosts after 10 minutes when former Birmingham City striker D J Campbell tried to skip around the back of Ibanez but instead ran straight into him. To be fair to Oliver from his angle it may have looked like there had been a trip. However, what was to follow was completely unexpected by all, Oliver brandished a red card in Pablo's direction. He somehow deemed that Pablo had denied a goalscoring opportunity but in all likelihood Campbell would not have got to the ball with Jara and Carson already in close proximity. From the resulting penalty Charlie Adam scored with Carson perhaps feeling that he may have done better having got both hands to the ball.
Following Pablo's dismissal the Baggies were forced to reorganise and Simon Cox was unfortunate to be replaced by Stephen Reid. Albion's players were still incensed by the sending off and matters weren't helped by Oliver's reluctance to give a free kick their way following some 'professional' off the ball challenges by Blackpool's players. Everything came to a head on the half hour mark when Gonzalo Jara had a rush of blood to the head that saw him make a two footed challenge on Luke Varney right on the corner flag. This time the referee got it completely right and Jara deserved to see red. From that point on the Baggies fans must have feared the worst but if they did they didn't show it, they belted out The Lord is my Shepherd and were even boing boinging despite everything being against them. Even down to nine men the Baggies looked dangerous and in truth a class above Blackpool who seemed to lack the ability to create good chances. With more composure and better finishing Graham Dorrans, who had replaced Marc-Antoine Fortuné, could have scored a couple of goals towards the end of the first half.
The second half came around with Albion still one down and hopeful that if they could keep Blackpool at bay then they might be able nick a goal themselves. However, Blackpool did manage to get a priceless second goal when Varney timed his run beautifully to slot Grandin's cross past the helpless Carson. Blackpool continued to make half chances but they couldn't find a way to add to their goal's tally. Instead it was Albion that finished the game the stronger with the impressive Mulumbu scoring a magnificent goal complete with two step overs to give the travelling support hope of an amazing comeback. That comeback would have been achieved had Stephen Reid managed to keep his shot down from the edge of the six yard box, alas it was not to be and to the relief of home fans they managed to hang on for their first home win of the season, thanks in no small part to a generous referee.