WBA 2-3 Preston North End
Both teams were up for this one. I had warned my
players all week that this a game was going to be a tough one
and that's how it turned out. My job was made harder with the
failure of Jason and Kershaw to turn up on time (what's new LOL)
and the absences of Chambers and Jacko because of other commitments.
The one plus was having George with us.
I knew he would be vital for us and that's how it worked out.
Pre match team talk was about keeping the ball moving and
getting it from back to front as quickly
as possible, but within five minutes of the start we had been caught in possession
twice along the back line so plan "B" was put into operation what was
for me to "let rip" at my players LOL and let them know that if they
carried on like this we would be out of the game by half-time.
However this seemed to work as the players involved suddenly
got their game together and we began to play a bit! West
Brom was a class team in possession
but "off" the
ball their work rate didn't match ours so I always felt we had a bit more to
offer up front than they did! It was no surprise then when we eventually took
the lead with Andy knocking home a cross after good work on the left by Roger
At this stage I felt we were in control of the game but a dodgy
free kick decision by the ref gave West Brom the chance of
a strike at goal. Like the
final free kick I could not work out how this went in either. That's the
second time we have been done like that and I aint happy. I don't like
going in front
and then conceding goals from set pieces especially as West Brom like Bury
did not deserve their equalise. 1-1 was how the game finished at the interval.
At half time I again told the lads about moving the ball quicker
when in possession and about stepping the tempo up as I felt
a few West Brom players were "blowing a bit"" towards
the end of the half.
Our best spell then came straight after the restart. Andy was
getting behind their back line and chances were coming thick
and fast as we pinned them in their own half. West Brom were
now struggling with the amount of pressure being put on them
so it was no surprise when we fired in two quick goals to put
the game out of sight. First a pen by Pete after George was upended
in the box and then George himself smashing one in of the underside
of the bar.
However West Brom to their credit through everything forward
in the last few minutes and another bad goal from our point of
view this time straight in from the corner made for a nervous
last few minutes and only a superb block on the line form Mike
Wilson stopped them from grabbing a late equaliser.
Footnote; Thanks to West Brom for the superb facilities including
main stand LOL and also the standard of their play. They were
like Castle Rock in many ways with their superb one touch football.
But I have a team that can hurt people and a team that trains
hard, has fantastic team spirit and is organised and in the end
it's that combination that got us through. Thanks to all the
squad for their efforts on Saturday and like Hibernian it's another
game that will live long in the memory and what a pitch to play
Brilliant stuff boys and from the Chairman, "well done
Stu - Pete -
Martin - Mike
Atky - Jonny - Ste - Andy
Jimmy, Pesch, Chats, Jason, Kershaw