There was hardly any excitement for me in the build-up to the game... rather a feeling of inevitability, hoping not to lose more than anything else. The teamsheet revealed that Neville had made a miraculous recovery (wonder why he never gets hurt like Vaughan/Cahill?) and Jags retained his "central midfield" role. It was a nice surprise to see young Baxter lining up next to the Yak, although he actually played more as a midfielder.
The game started with the Baggies enjoying the majority of possession and control as we looked out of sorts. Kim looked dangerous when he was on the ball for them and Morrison was using the right side to good effect. Arteta hardly got a touch with the defenders dealing directly with the opposition defenders and keeper with their hoofball tactics.
Osman was playing far too deep to help the Yak, who himself rarely got a touch. We went into the break level but we were lucky to not be a goal or two down. Ossie was booked for what looked an innocuous challenge by the ever irritating Rob Styles.
The second half started pretty much as the first half had ended and the Baggies were pulling the strings in midfield. Greening, Kim, Morrison and Koren passed the ball well but thankfully for us we managed to keep the ball from reaching Miller too often. He had a great chance to put the Baggies ahead when a cross from the right was placed on his head but he somehow over-ran the ball and so headed over the bar.
Moyes made the change with young Baxter making way for the "Old, Experienced" Vaughan... the change was very evident as we finally strung a few passes together. We got a corner which Arteta swung in and Rodwell rose well to head home resulting in wild screaming by me in front of my TV... only to see that it had somehow been ruled out as Rodwell had apparently fouled the defender. (Was Styles watching the same game???)
Within a few minutes we did go ahead, a nice move on the right after West Brom gave up the ball. Arteta passed to Ossie who steadied the ball and struck a good shot across goal leaving Carson sprawled on the grass... (Result - me screaming in front of the TV again with a few added words for the visually and mentally challenged Mr Styles!). The travelling Toffees finally found something to cheer about.
Morrison looked sure to score before Baines threw himself in the way of his goalmouth shot. After a good spell, we were handed a huge slice of luck when Meite, backtracking after a Lescott punt, decided to hold off the Yak but the Yak was strong and headed the bouncing ball past a hapless Carson to make it 2-0... and bring up the Yak's 100th Premier League goal in 238 appearances ? great record, that!
As the end of the game neared, West Brom threw on a few new players and we brought on Valente for the Yak. Rob Styles contrived to hand the Baggies a lifeline as he awarded them a late penalty after an apparent handball from Neville. (Replays were inconclusive but Mr Styles as always seemed sure that he was going to screw us over.) Bednar stepped up and sent Howard the wrong way leaving us Toffee fans with the familiar tummy-churning and chest-clutching feeling. Thankfully we held on for the much neeeded win. Moyes deserved this win and so did the lads on the field ? well done.
The player performances in my opinion were as follows:
- Howard: Had a pretty good game... no major mistakes
- Neville: Poor passing from him as usual but defended well... not sure if he actually handled the ball.
- Yobo: Probably will have his picture in the dictionary soon ? next to the words SOLID and ROCK. Great game.
- Lescott: Good game... looking assured as always.
- Baines: Had a better game than last week and looked more fit than ive ever seen him.
- Jagielka: Poor game for much of the 1st half at least... gave the ball away and made poor passes... had a better 2nd half.
- Rodwell: Was unlucky not to open his goalscoring account. He was more composed on the ball this week but has a long way to go before he fills in Carsley's boots.
- Osman: Has a really good shot in and around the box but does not benefit from the hoofball tactics coz of his height.
- Baxter: Was not very effective as a wide midfield player... rather see him as a striker.
- Arteta: Couple pf poor set pieces but the corner from which the goal was disallowed was spot on,as was the pass to Ossie for the 1st goal that counted.
- Yakubu: Starved of service for most of the game but when he got the chance he buried it. Great goal return... 2 for 2 this season and 100 from 238 overall.
- Vaughan: Not back to full fitness yet but was full of beans as always... Kick-started us on to the win i think.
- Valente: not on for long enough to make much difference.
So we have something to build on now. Hoping against hope that we can sign a couple of players this week... ahead of Pompey's visit next weekend. Need Moyes to commit his future to us too to ensure we keep going in the right direction... COYB
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1 Posted 24/08/2008 at 15:53:41
2 Posted 24/08/2008 at 16:25:57
3 Posted 24/08/2008 at 21:21:20
4 Posted 25/08/2008 at 04:02:28
5 Posted 25/08/2008 at 14:54:55