Turning victory into defeat

Terry Wills is not a happy Albion fan.

All football supporters recognise the feeling, waking up the day after seeing their team win a game, feeling on top of the world.

That was how I, and I suspect most Albion fans, felt after gaining a so-vital win against Aston Villa, who never looked capable of troubling a well-disciplined Baggies defence that at its heart had the immaculate Joleon Lescott strolling through the game as if it was a training exercise. So much so that Christian Benteke had what was described as “being his worst game of the season” -aided by Gareth McAuley and another quote “best ever game to date” to the extent that another previous thorn in Albion’s side, Gabby Agbonlahor, was second-best to a much improved Andre Wisdom. It was a victory that eased the worrying position of drifting ever closer to the relegation spots, gave Alan Irvine and the players a major boost and with Queens Park Rangers next in line, another three points was a distinct possibility.

I should have known better, and again the prime candidates for eventual relegation Hull, Leicester and Burnley, conveniently manage to lose, giving the Baggies another opportunity to distance themselves from teams with identical problems. But let’s not mince words. 2-0 up, playing Rangers off the park (a fact admitted by Harry Redknapp and every media outlet), to concede three goals courtesy of dire defending, was truly a self-inflicted wound.

Alan Irvine named a unchanged line-up from the Villa game and while it was a treat to see Varela causing problems the same couldn’t be said of Ideye Brown. He provided a few useful moments, but as regards genuine goalscoring attempts they were non-existent. To select our most expensive import instead of Saido Berahino was greeted by disbelief from fans and the local media in general. Yes he does need games but if he’s being selected to prove he was worth the record transfer fee, that’s another matter.

Dominant with early goals from Joleon Lescott and Sylvester Valero the game should have been as good as won. Enter the scene James Morrison. Arms clutched around a blue and white hooped shirt the subsequent penalty was hammered home by Charlie Austin. He may have been unlucky in as much that at every set-piece in every game it’s common practice, and officials tend to ignore it unless they are 100% certain. This was clearly the right decision – 2-1 up at half-time but sadly the rot was slowly creeping in.

Man of the Match Austin went on to dominate Albion’s defence, and if it wasn’t bad enough when he equalised his late winner was deflating in the extreme. Alan Irvine is a highly respected coach not only at the Hawthorns but from informed sources within the game. Without querying the opinion from people that obviously know far more than any supporter, why is that experienced senior players continually make the same mistakes time after time?

Three games in quick succession and again based on current form and the calibre of the opposition I won’t be surprise if we fail to pick up a point. Stoke and West Ham away but before that a bang in form title chasing-Manchester City hoping to inflict more misery on Albion and at the same time enhancing their own prospects,

From a very unhappy Baggies supporter to all Birmingham Press readers, enjoy the festive season. After all there are more important things in life than the fluctuating fortunes of a football club.