WEST BROM 1 IRONS 2
Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins scored the goals to give the Irons a fabulous three points but this started off tense, turned into torture and for most of the time was downright TERRIBLE!
After grabbing a first half lead following Craig Dawson’s headed opener from a Gardner, free kick the team was all over the show in the second half.
But if you can play this badly and win you are doing something right but in truth it was a night to forget apart from those three points.
The Hammers had started in shocking style and it was no surprise when they fell behind to that Dawson header after just ten minutes.
Sam Allardyce had opted to play Andy Carroll up top, starting both Nolan and Zarate which for a while showed a team caught between cultures.
There was always a temptation to throw it long which usually resulted in Carroll flicking it on to defenders whilst Zarate with ball at feet, always looked a real menace and tested Albion keeper Foster with one humdinger.
That slowly woke us up and as we gained some real control the anxiety spread around the home crowd which became serious despair when Nolan headed home following an acrobatic effort from Carroll from a Stewart Downing free kick.
And in the second minute of added time, Downing’s corner saw Tomkins make amends for his earlier error when he rose to send a thumping header past the stranded Foster almost as the whistle blew.
Albion pressed forward at the start of the second hand and the Irons grew more and more anxious before the manager hauled off Morgan Amalfitano and Andy Carroll for James Collins and Enner Valencia.
But if anything, going three at the back had the full backs looking unsure of their roles and the striker – obviously not 100 per cent fit -was off his game.
As a result the team looked unbalanced and were confined to their own half for much of the second period. Allardyce threw on Carlton Cole for Zarate which did little to halt the slide.
The Baggies pushed on and on with Dawson firing wide when it looked easier to score and both Anichibe and Dorrans shooting wide.
Nervous and vulnerable, this was a game screaming out for Alex Song who knows how to close a match down when the going gets tough.
As it was we hung on – JUST – to ensure we remain in that top six. Swansea next – BRING IT ON!