Terry Wills on Albion’s historic win against Stoke.
So the age of miracles has not passed. If that had been the case there was no way on earth that the Baggies would manage to send a passionate, very passionate, set of supporters home celebrating the eighth wonder of the world, a win and three points from a visit to the Potteries.
The day hadn’t started well, cold, wet and windy, and a feeling that we’d be making the return journey after seeing the Baggies leaving Stoke with no points, and their fans celebrating another traditional win. How wrong could anyone be?!
From the start, on a bitterly cold day, it was Albion that dominated proceedings. Up front chances were created and if James Morrison had been blessed with a little luck we could have taken the lead early on. It wasn’t to be until he managed to send us into hysterics with a goal, helped by a mistake from the keeper.
Visibly shaken, Delap City did their best to get back into the game. The usual long ball throw ins were numerous but this time an inspired defensive performance repulsed everything thrown at them. Half-time, and time for we shivering fans to pray silently that we could hold out to take the points. Second half and still creating the better chances the time slipped by, but that second killer goal just wouldn’t come.
Come on lads, you HAVE to seal the game. Come on, come on
Agony… ! The referee was pointing to the penalty spot and if that was a genuine penalty I’m a secret Villa fan.
Ecstasy..! Ben Foster pulls off a save to see justice done. Those three points were getting ever closer as the clock ticked slowly down.
Agony again..! A free kick to the ‘elegant’ Stoke team and a header had levelled the score. Damn them and all they stood for.
Ecstasy..!. A few minutes to go and a free-kick to the Baggies. Up stepped a rejuvenated Graham Dorrans, a shot and a perfect view for the passionate fans as the ball finished in the back of the net.
Agony…! Praying we wouldn’t concede a VERY late equaliser it reverted to ecstasy. The wish was granted. We’d won against our ultimate bogey team, let the bitterly cold weather take second place, we’d tasted victory on Wedgwood territory and didn’t the fans let the all too often silent Stoke supporters know it.
Bouquets all round, every player gave 100% and the looks on their faces as they trooped past us to the dressing room gave the impression that they’d enjoyed the victory almost as much as we had. So on to this week and the fourth round Hawthorns FA Cup match against the team that ‘stole’ the points on their league visit. Norwich City and their very passionate supporters (they’ve been given the whole of the Smethwick End), and if that doesn’t generate a tremendous atmosphere I’ll be very surprised.
Prospects of reaching the fifth round? Good, providing Roy Hodgson can instil a feeling that a win would not only take us a step closer to Wembley, it would provide a major boost to our truly dreadful home form and silence the tweeting of the Canaries’ supporters.
A satisfactory week for all concerned, let’s hope that the weekend leaves us feeling things have finally turned the corner as they appear to have done for a certain Mack-Antoine Fortune. Bet he never thought he’d hear his name chanted during and after a game.
Come on you Baggies.