Totally eclipsed

Terry Wills looks back at Albion’s game with Manchester City.

March 21st 2015. A chance to see, if you lived in the right area, a rare event, namely a total eclipse of the sun. I didn’t, but a few hours later after settling down to watch the Baggies hopefully compete against richly-laden Manchester City , along with other Albion fans I bore witness to an unexpected event.

It wasn’t the defeat but the manner of it; a total eclipse of West Bromwich Albion’s chances of causing an upset courtesy of a 89 second red card from (he should have gone to Specsavers) referee Oliver Swarbrick. It was the correct decision but to dismiss Gareth McAuley instead of Craig Dawson was ludicrous in the extreme. From that moment it was game over, simply a case of damage limitations so the eventual 3-0 defeat could be said to reflect a tribute to the ten-man battling Baggies.

No excuses – City were superior in all departments and if Boaz Myhill hadn’t pulled off a string of saves our goal difference could have suffered a serious reverse. Again our fellow encumbents in the lower half of the table conveniently failed to take advantage so there were no points gained but importantly a game nearer safety.

Tony Pulis has had selection problems so from his perspective he must be delighted that due to the international break there are no Greed League fixtures until the VERY important successive home games with Queens Park Rangers and Leicester City. By then he will hopefully have a stronger squad to select from. Nagging injuries should be cleared up for Saido Berahino, Brown Ideye, Calllum McManaman, and a stronger Victor Anichebe. Back from suspension, Chris Brunt and Claudio Yacob.

Each and every one of them is needed to ensure that despite having what appears on paper a significant points and favourable goal difference, Albion can avoid being dragged into a bottom three spot,

Finally, commiserations to the Saddlers at losing their first-ever Wembley experience. They were always second favourites against a Bristol City side who look certain to be crowned League One champions but no doubt their loyal supporters enjoyed their day out despite the disappointing result.