The Saints Go Limping In

Terry Wills catches Monday night fever at the Hawthorns.

West Bromwich Albion HawthornsA cold miserable night. Players slipping and sliding on a pitch that as time passed grew increasingly difficult as players struggled to keep their feet.

Thankfully Steve Clarke’s team avoided the worst possible scenario, namely losing their footing in a banana’ skin game that many fans, pre-match, had reluctantly admitted could have provided a shock result, as opposed to the ‘certain’ three points confidently predicted by local and national football ‘experts.’

There they were. Southampton.  Bottom of the table with the worst defence in the Greed League. Let the slaughter begin. Yes, at the finish we had the desired result. The 2-0 victory elevated us into fifth position. A great night? Maybe.

But being frank this wasn’t a particularly inspired performance. The Baggies played better when losing to Manchester City and Newcastle United but these days all that matters at the final whistle is the result. For the first 15-20 minutes there was little to choose between the teams, but after Peter Odemwingie’s shot had took a slight deflection (as opposed to that Newcastle winner!) there was only going to be one set of happy supporters. And that wasn’t the goodly number of Saints fans who had made the long Monday night journey from the South Coast.

As for the second goal – WOW. Another turn of phrase is ‘A thing of beauty is a joy to behold’- and for me the superb run and fabulous cross from Shane Long that landed perfectly on Odemwigie’s head for his second goal wouldn’t have looked out of place in any game in any league in the world.

Outstanding players? Yousouff Mulumbu, who bossed the midfield. Jonas Olsson ,as reliable as ever, and Shane Long. Long’s ability to win headers against far taller players is remarkable while his non-stop running is a bonus for his teammates and we fans. Talk of European football next season is mounting but there’s still a long way to go before that possibility can seriously be considered.

With three of the next four games away from home starting at Wigan on Saturday (and they’re a team who invariably cause us problems) every point will be vital. Forecast? Let’s just say while a win would be boost a point wouldn’t be a bad result.

Come on you Baggies.

[otw_is sidebar=otw-sidebar-1]