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Mike Dodds gets it spot on
I’m glad for Dodds that he was able to demonstrate his ability as a coach better than he did the first time he was asked to take caretaker charge of the team, and in many ways I think he set us up in a manner which has seemed obvious to anyone who’s watched us play in recent weeks.
Every player knew their job on the pitch. We went back to basics tactically and didn’t overcomplicate things, and once we were ahead in the latter stages of the second half, he had a clear plan to see the result through.
Well done to him.
Jobe showed the strikers how it’s done
I don’t know what the plan is going forward with Jobe, but I think what we saw from him was a proper striker’s performance, one in which he was cruelly denied a deserved goal thanks to an incompetent referee and linesman.
He made brilliant runs in between the full backs and defenders; he held the ball up and led the line well, he linked play from deep and on occasions carried it to get us further forward, and generally I think he just played very well.
He played up there earlier in the season and looked good, so I’m intrigued to see what happens from here and if he can establish himself as a number nine in a team that has no established number nine at present.
A sloppy goal conceded
I thought we saw the game out well, but the West Brom goal was a sore one to concede given the time it came in the game and the fact that they’d gotten absolutely nowhere near threatening Anthony Patterson all afternoon.
It’s going to take a sustained period of intensive coaching from whoever the next head coach is, but we really need to be better at the back when concentrating for ninety minutes. At the moment, it feels like whenever we switch off, we get punished for it.
More woeful officiating
Yet again, it was the incompetence of the blokes in black which overshadowed huge periods of the game, and both teams bore the brunt of it.
Jobe had a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside which was a mile onside, Alex Pritchard was viciously elbowed in the face in full view of everyone, including the fourth official, and the lad stayed on the pitch, and Patrick Roberts was denied a penalty after being brought down in the box.
I’m boring myself by banging on about how bad the officials are in this league but it’s absolutely impossible to ignore.
Lars Knutsen says…
An excellent second half performance
The Lads needed to raise their game after conceding a territorial advantage to West Brom in the first forty five minutes, when the visitors played a high press pretty effectively.
However, we did just that and the goal threat was very much evident, with Adil Aouchiche hitting the post and then the team netting two excellent goals.
Alex Pritchard provided the cross for a powerful Dan Ballard header and also supplied a cleverly disguised pass for Dan Neil to finish crisply over Alex Palmer after an exciting counter attack. Elsewhere, Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts were also very effective going forward.
This was a playoff ‘six pointer’ and we won with some good game management late on after the Baggies pulled one back.
A sound defensive display
We restricted the visitors to a single shot on target, and it was great not to fall behind in the match, as we’d conceded in the first half during our three previous home games.
The centre backs were dominant, as they needed to be in the first period, and Trai Hume and Niall Huggins were tenacious and outstanding both at the back and going forward.
Ongoing striker issues
Joe Gelhardt is still our most recent scorer who was a recognised striker, and that was back in April.
None of the forwards we signed in the summer have nailed down a regular starting spot, and we need to resolve this issue and use the funds from the sale of Ross Stewart to bring in a proven goalscorer who can fire us towards promotion.
This has been a feature of the current season and the referee and linesmen were responsible for several serious errors which could’ve been game changing.
Ruling out the Jobe Bellingham goal was a clear error and if we hadn’t won, it would’ve been a major talking point.
The decision making that led to a corner being denied after Palmer saved Clarke’s drive was also highly dubious. I know that it’s no fun being a match official, but surely competent ones can be recruited.
Malc Dugdale says…
Two good goals scored
After an offside call which I felt was very harsh and us hitting the post, I was starting to wonder if we’d get a goal, let alone a win, but our two goals were very well worked and much deserved.
With one from a set piece and one from a lovely counter attack after nicking the ball in midfield, my nerves were settled and we brought it home.
Although they didn’t come from a striker, they were great team goals.
West Brom didn’t really impress me and although the loss of Josh Maja to injury will have been a factor, they created less than I expected, meaning Anthony Patterson had hardly anything to do.
Dan Ballard was immense at the back but I have to say that I can’t wait for Trai Hume to play against Newcastle, as every time we really needed a solid ‘ball and man’ tackle, he seemed to deliver it.
Despite goals for two others, Hume was my man of the match as his fighting spirit epitomised the difference between a lacklustre first and a very good second half.
Yes, we let a goal in when the Baggies overloaded Huggins and we lost concentration, but on the whole the defence effectively neutralised most of West Brom’s threats, so well done lads!
An officiating clown show
The goal for Jobe in the first half looked onside from high in the south stand, so how the linesman could’ve ruled that out is beyond me.
The referee made a few poor decisions yesterday, too.
We got through most of it before a late elbow to Alex Pritchard’s face which was surely a straight red was deemed a yellow.
How these people sleep at night after performing so awfully and almost ruining games is beyond me, and I’d introduce VAR tomorrow.
The spectre of strikers
While I applaud Mike Dodds for trying something different, it was a shame that we didn’t see any of the strikers make a real impact.
Eliezer Mayenda got some minutes and got into the box once or twice, beating himself and losing the ball for one chance, but I’m increasingly thinking we need to try two up top, and with Dodds showing he’s willing to alter stuff to succeed, maybe we’ll see that soon.