Baggies Steal The Points, But Forest Show Promise
The Championship is a sometimes tough and cruel division and that was more than demonstrated today at the City Ground, as WBA ran off with all three points in a 1-0 win, despite a great team effort from Forest in which the Reds' were for the most part the better side.
Just under 23,000 turned up to a sun drenched City Ground this afternoon, for the first home game of the season and but for the result, will have gone home fairly happy with a battling and at times very pleasing performance on the eye from Forest.
From the start, the Reds' stroked the ball around and for the most part found their man. That in itself, was in stark contrast to much of last season, where hoofball seemed the order of the day and our only means of attack or defence. If today is anything to go on, the Reds' will be playing the tippy tappy stuff this season and not before time.
Although the first half ended all square, Billy Davies would have been pleased with much of what he saw. Despite our obviuos frailties at the back, the lads committed themselves well. Wes was a rock and bar one shaky moment for Lynch, he acquitted himself well too. The only negative from an otherwise very credible performance from Forest, was from the normally everso reliable Chris Cohen. He didn't seem to know if he was playing in midfield or defence and looked very uncomfortable wherever he was. That said, it was a cracking first half display, in which we looked very dangerous in attack.
Dele Adebola proved what a strong and at times inventive player he is. He was always available for the pass, always held the ball up well and nearly always produced a chance. 0-0 at the break, gave fans alot to look forward to in the second half.
The talk amongst the fans during the break, was mainly about the ineptitude of referee Keith Stroud. Those concerns and fears were never far away after the break either. Forest looked to have taken an early lead, after a well worked move from the lads. Adebloa hit the ball home, but the goal was disallowed. Apparently there was a push in the box, but for the life of me, I couldn't see a thing wrong with it. The Beeb will be interesting to watch tonight, when it will hopefully shed a little more light on the incident, but for me it was a perfectly good goal.
The Reds' paid a heavy price for not closing down the WBA attack soon after. Wes Morgan hit the ball into his own net, following a Jonathan Greening cross. It was a cruel blow for the lads, but it could have been even worse moments later. Chris Gunter had a harsh free kick given against him and it should have been 2-0 to the Baggies, but Graham Dorrans hit his shot over the bar.
After losing their former dominance, Forest began to come back into the game. The goal clearly hit them hard, but we soon rallied and began to play some neat football again. Captain McKenna almost pulled one back with a well struck shot and despite a fumble from calamity Carson, Forest couldn't capitalise on his spill.
Garner had a good penalty shout turned down but was rewarded slightly fortuitously soon after, when a lesser challenge was punished by the hapless Stroud for a tackle on Earnshaw. This was seen as no less than we deserved, but the resultant penalty was horribly missed by Earnie, who struck his effort well wide of the post. Earnie's howler sent the Baggies fans into raptures, as they began to see the points going back to Brum with them.
Five minutes of extra time was never going to be enough to get anything from the game. West Brom showed all the cunning and guille that will serve them well this season, as they annoyingly ran the clock down. 3,000 Baggies went home happy, but 20,000 Reds' will have also been happy with a tidy and workmanlike performance, that will give them alot of heart for the rest of the season.