Canaries shot down

Terry Wills on Albion’s vital win at Norwich.

Now what was it I said last week prior to Albion’s vital away game against fellow strugglers Norwich City?

Oh yes – a point would be more than useful! Hallelujah -as after 90+ minutes of enduring ‘agony’, the ref finally signalled game over and another coolly-taken goal from Morgan Amalfitano had sent the 2,500 travelling fans, and many listening back home, celebrating in unison!

Pre-match yet another vicious spiteful, attack on the club had been made in an exclusive newspaper interview by Peter Odemwingie, who accused the players of running a cartel, favouring some above others, a dreadful dressing room and the rest. The only thing not levelled at them was they were in some way implicated in the Great Train Robbery.

The reaction of the players was a determined fighting display in giving a 100% show of unity from the previous week’s controversial warring factions (and that had been blown out of all proportion). The climax was a win that has, hopefully, gone a long way towards ensuring Greed League football at the Hawthorns next season – more so after watching Sunderland hammered 5-1 by Tottenham, a defeat that barring a footballing miracle will see them playing at Molineux next season.

There were satisfying, encouraging signs a-plenty. A tremendous diving save from Ben Foster, Jonas Olsson and Gareth McCauley rock solid, another vastly improved display from Liam Ridgewell, Graham Dorrans, Mulumbu, James Morrison, Stephen Reid; all competitive.

Morgan Amelfitano, and there’s debate whether Albion should re-sign him for next season,
is for me a skilful player, capable of scoring quality goals, and a definite yes. The question is who will make the final decision – Pepe Mel, if he’s still head coach, his possible replacement, or Jeremy Peace?

Up front there was the rare sight of Sessegnon and Vydra rattling the Canaries cage with pace and aggression, and then Saidio Berahino, on as substitute, seemingly putting last week’s controversy with Morrison behind him  as they jointly embraced in celebration.

Three precious points, the first clean sheet in eleven games, and a genuine feeling that we won’t be one of the three teams facing the hangman’s noose after the last game against Peter Odemwingie’s Stoke City.

This doesn’t mean we are yet safe. There are still six games to go and football has a habit of rejecting what appeared to inevitable conclusions. Anyone remember the name of the team that performed a miraculous Great Escape in 2005? If there is such a things as a footballing miracle, that was surely it.

On Saturday it’s Spurs (who did us a favour against Sunderland), in a game we need to win. At their best they can pose problems for any side; match-winning strikers, but they do appear to be fallible in defence. Here’s hoping Pepe Mel at the best can celebrate his first home win, or at the worst, know
another draw has inched us nearer safety?