Terry Wills on Albion’s week.
There are fictional soap story lines such as Hayley and Roy in Coronation Street which million of addicts duly tuned in to tearfully watch despite knowing the ending and there are real life, on the edge of your seat dramatics where no one has an insight to the probable outcome.
And never more so than Albion’s clash with Everton. Before kick off, chatting with fellow Baggies fans, an overwhelming majority agreed with my personal opinion -“If offered it I’d take a point now.”
What a backdrop. Pepe Mel’s first game, the national media hanging on to every word, Sky TV’s neutral football loving audience, neutral unless of course they supported Aston Villa or Liverpool. Not forgetting the Baggies’ own mini-soap storyline,Nicolas Anelka and his infamous salute that could, and did, see West Bromwich Albion lose Zoopla’s sponsorship.Plus a charge of bringing the game resulting, that at the time of writing will be minimum of five games after he has requested a personal hearing with the FA.
But onto the most important factor, taking on a very well organised, impressive Everton who in the first half merited their 1-0 lead. The Hawthorns faithful were combatively quiet as opposed to the vociferous Toffee supporters. But as the game wore on, and Mel made good use of his substitutes,we began to believe we could snatch an equaliser.
Hallelujah! A late goal from, of all players.Diego Lugano, set the crowd Boing Boinging, just as Pepe had wished.
Indeed for the last few minutes the Everton defence looked the more likely to concede a second. But it was hearts in boots time until what we all thought had been an added on time Everton goal was ruled offside;which it clearly was.
First impressions of Pepe Mel? He promised a high tempo possession game, we got it. He stressed an attacking policy, we got that, he said we’d enjoy watching his style of football, we did. So all in all it was a contented set
of Baggies that responded by chanting his name as he left the pitch followed by another bevy of cameramen.
Individual performances? Nicolas Anelka and Jonas Olsson outstanding. James Morrison,Chris Brunt , Claudio Yacob, never stopped grafting, indeed it was a solid team performance, despite Liam Ridgewell again looking far from comfortable due to his lack of pace. This also applied to Diego Luganu, but for all that he did a fair job considering he was facing a certain Romelu Lukaku AND he netted our equaliser with a bullet header.
No game this weekend but next up a second tilt, away at Villa Park, where the claret and blues have up until now, a miserable home record. Both sets of supporters will be desperately hoping to see their respective sides grab the valuable three points to distance themselves further from the dreaded three relegation spots.
It’s intriguing to say the least and I’ll take a look at the prospects in greater detail next week – so until then…
Come on you Baggies.