The teams were introduced and two things stood out: Jelavic relegated to the bench in favour of Big Vic and the inclusion of Mirallas, who had overcome his hammy in record time, is his problem psychological?
We kicked off and were on the front foot right away and forced a corner early doors which was taken by Mirallas and found Fellaini who had it whipped away from him at the vital moment. At the other end, Distin got a good block in to stop a fierce shot and then Mirallas had a run through the middle but made a mess of his shot... but the good thing about was that he had run fast and had a swing of the boot and no reaction from the troublesome hammy.
Around 20 mins, Big Vic knocked one down for the impressive Fellaini to fire against a post. "Drat!" I thought... we could have done with that going in as, although we were looking to be on top and pressing, a goal seemed far away.
However, we only had to endure another 10 mins or so until we got it right. Baines from his defensive position found Osman who made ground down the left before putting the ball into the path of the overlapping and raiding Baines who raced on and from just inside the box let go a rasper that whizzed into the top corner to rapturous applause, the replay on the big screen showed the power generated as it flew through the keeper's grasp after his impressive dive to block it. A genuine corker by any standards.
We continued to have the better of it and the opposition started to get a little frustrated and the odd tackle or two brought much displeasure from the faithful gathered. Yet, just before the end of the half, a WBA player seemed to just collapse to the deck with the nearest Everton player being Osman but a mere brush with him didn’t seem to warrant him being stretchered off. I hope the lad Thorne is not to bad as it was impossible to see what might have caused the situation.
2 mins later and that man Baines was at it again after the sub for Thorne brought down Big Vic in the box and the ref pointed straight way to the spot. The kick was a Baines special into the right hand corner giving Foster no chance and so a 2 - 0 score line sent thousands to the beer and pie bars happy. Mirallas went to take the spot kick but Bainsey had grabbed the ball and Kevin had to accept that — Bainsey made sure.
Half-time and the chat ranged over many subjects with the Dutch lad's transfer falling through. Most were glad the club took the action it did. £8million for a crock? We have shown we can get crocks much cheaper than that.
The story sweeping the ground tonight was that we are trying for a lad from Wigan – McCarthy. Time will tell and believe nowt until the shirt is being waved on the back page of the Echo.
Second half and the visitors – obviously with a half time rollicking in their ears – responded in ‘take no prisoners mode’. Lukaku fired over within seconds of the restart. We took a good ten minutes or so to sort ourselves out and then we looked the likelier as Mirallas took a Pienaar pass and cut inside and tested the keeper who pushed his shot for a corner which came to nought until the ball fell for Pienaar who tried yet again with one of his curlers, this time it was weak and collected by the keeper. The half carried on with us looking comfortable without really testing the keeper and, for all of the Baggies bluster, we looked well in control.
On the hour mark, WBA introduced Shane Long for Morrison and my mate piped up "He always scores against us" and just a couple of minutes later, after an almighty cock-,up by our rearguard, a through straight ball somehow eluded Heitinga and Lukaku was through on goal, Howard raced out but was rounded with some ease but his shot toward the empty net was weak and the fast recovering Heitinga got to the line to clear; it should have been a straight forward hoof anywhere but he seemed to juggle it and then poke it skywards which fell just right for Long to head into the empty net. I am sure Johnny was not happy with that contribution and indeed a close up of him on the big screen saw him spit out expletives that you certainly didn’t have to be a trained lip-reader to understand.
Mirallas was subbed in favour of Gibson – a case of sicknotes passing in the night... yet, by the end, we could be pleased with both their contributions and can only hope both now see the season out without further mishap.
It was the Baggies who threatened next after Neville had given away a daft free kick for someone of his experience and Dorrans hit the bar with a rasper. Big Vic was dropped in the box but Ref waved play on with the ball at the feet of Osman who just could not get the connection required. WBA continued to press so the faithful raised the noise level and we got a response. Osman jinked forward and hit a left-footer that alas went high.
We were the better team but elementary errors by senior players, Neville, Pienaar and Osman plus an out of sorts Jags were keeping hearts in mouths when it should have been comfortable viewing.
As the game headed to a conclusion, we had a mini purple patch. Pienaar received the ball after a corner and fired one in that the keeper had to tip over and then the miss of the season award was won by Osman when, after a scramble in the box that saw Pienaar have a shot blocked and one off the post and the ball squeezed out to Osman to tap into an empty net. Somehow, he got the ball over the bar and from the position he was in it must be a rare gift to be able to do what he did. Shame really because he didn’t have that bad a game.
Jelavic came on for the last six mins replacing Big Vic who got a resounding round of applause has he left the field and he took the time to applaud the fans. Jelavic looked lively maybe he can respond to being dropped. I hope so.
MotM – Baines
Overall, a good Wednesday night out. A win, a couple of pints, and results elsewhere that in the main went for us. By the time you read this ‘Deadline Day' will be upon us. Will we do business or not? Will you have eyes glued to at least three pages open on the computer? Will you be happy or sad by the close and then be up early to see if something went through late? Ah... such is our need for the sake of our hopes and aspirations.
Whatever happens, onward and upward... and, by the end of May, we will be trophy holders and CL combatants. Well, such are our dreams.
See you Sat for the three points v Villa or???
UP THE BLUES
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880 Posted 31/01/2013 at 04:52:12
Couple of comments I want to add.
Other than the absolute clanger by Johnny, I thought he had a very good game and was one of our best.
Worst performance by Jags in a long long time.
We cannot keep missing gilt edged chances like the one Ossie missed tonight.
882 Posted 31/01/2013 at 05:11:25
891 Posted 31/01/2013 at 07:05:49
903 Posted 31/01/2013 at 07:36:25
928 Posted 31/01/2013 at 08:59:14
945 Posted 31/01/2013 at 10:04:17
964 Posted 31/01/2013 at 10:51:29
If we can get an extra body in today, we will be well set for the final straight...
153 Posted 31/01/2013 at 17:21:14
There was a defender back on the line and one throwing himself to block the ball. It looked like he was trying to put it in the top corner.
Would have been better off just making sure it hit the target, but once again not quite the cut and dried opportunity that some are suggesting.
180 Posted 31/01/2013 at 17:47:06
Amazing how we view games differently. Peter Bourke above thought Jags was poor and I thought he was very solid as a defender all night. I was glad that dangerman Lukaku seemed to drift to the left late on and got no change from Jags. Only fair to judge him on his defensive work and we cannot expect Baines-like attacking flair.
I agree Peter that apart from the double mistake for the West Brom goal, that Jonny was better than in some earlier games. Strange that he seems to have lost his authority at centre back this season. As far as I remember he played at right back for Athletico Madrid, so might be better placed there, than at centre back in the current 'right back crisis'.
215 Posted 31/01/2013 at 19:27:33
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