Date: 12th February 2012 at 5:53pm
Written by:

I was about to write this report when a friend, a Scotsman, knocked on the door with a crate of beer and invited himself in to watch the Wales -Scotland rugby match. A good result for me, largely because Scotland did ‘a Wolves`, that is, they gave away points by committing elementary mistakes.

Did it relieve the pain of a dreadful display by WW? No, it bloody well didn`t!

It`s not that we are relegated yet but if we play this badly, we don`t deserve to stay in the PL … and we certainly won`t! In the end the difference in class told and WBA won easily. By the end of the match it was even more embarrassing than the Liverpool game. To make matters worse we didn`t merely lose, we were thrashed. And, Blackburn Rovers are now ahead of us on goal difference. It`s a real shame because, given the results yesterday, a half-decent performance could have seen us rise up the table.

The only mystery was the timing of the goals. Completely outplayed for the first 45 minutes, we somehow managed to go into the break on level terms. Yet, while by our own poor standards, we played better in the second half, we manage to ship four more goals. WBA played like a PL team. They executed the basics properly: crisp in their passing, always looking to run into space and resolute in their tackling.

WW, in contrast, looked laboured and lacking in confidence. As ever, we dithered on the ball, got caught in possession, did not weigh our passes correctly or hit them accurately. Briefly, Milijas, proved that it could be done then he succumbed. What is worse, we have lost the two players, who could have pulled us out of the mire: Frimpong and Bassong.

I was afraid that this would happen,especially after I read the starting line-up. Whilst playing three strikers might be alright against ten men, it left us woefully exposed in midfield against the eleven of WBA. And so it proved. The Baggies swept through our lightweight midfield, shorn of any enforcer. Only Hennessey kept us in the game in the first half.

WBA, like so many other teams we play, attack at pace and create numerous chances. We, in contrast, have trouble bringing the ball out of defence, have even greater problems finding a man in space and inevitably lose the ball. What chances we get come our way though brute force and a lucky bounce rather than the finesse with which teams like WBA play. It`s the SEB training manual of playing soccer. Our style of play, therefore, puts a premium on converting the few chances handed to us and we do not put them away regularly enough to get us out of trouble. Thank goodness for Fletcher (and WH the other end of course).

Of course, we were unlucky with one or two of the deflected goals and an unsighted WH but we were well beaten and should recognise the fact. WBA had acres of space down the flanks and their scorers could have signed the ball before putting the cut-backs away, so lax was our defending.

We`re still making mistakes that schoolboys would be ashamed of: what about RJ`s dreadful skewed clearance that led to one of the goals. Only Bassong had the wit to play the ball out of defence and look for a colleague to pass to … and he`s injured now. No-one emerged out of this game with his reputation, such as it is, intact. Oh, apart from WH, that is, and even he made mistakes.

It`s not that they are bad players but they are not operating at the level to which they are capable. There must be a reason for this … and I blame the coaching staff. Please, Mr. Morgan, tell MM that it is time to go!