Monday, 17 December 2007

Slumming It at the Yawnthorns! - West Bromwich Albion 4 Charlton Athletic 2 - Coca Cola Championship - 15/12/07





I'll be straight with you from the start, I don't like West Brom much. Okay so I was born in West Bromwich and I now live in West Bromwich but my formative years were spent in Tamworth following not just the local side from The Lamb but also Aston Villa, so that's one reason I'm not keen on The Stripeyfilth. The other reason is that my Dad is a Baggies fan and I decided on The Villa as a great way to annoy him when I was a snotty little kid!
The reason I went to this match was because my son attends one of those lovely new Inner-city Academies that this Government like so much, this one (Sandwell Academy) was even opened by Tony Blair. West Bromwich Albion are one of the major sponsors of the school and even allow the pupils to use their indoor training hall, and The Hawthorns is directly opposite the school as well. I was sort of hoping that this agreement would throw up some cheap tickets and so it did, and at just £10 per adult ond £2 for kids it was a bargain I wasn't going to pass up.
The game was picked for Sky's saturday dinnertime match so it was still a fairly early start for me and Cameron even though we only had to jump onto a 79 bus, we know how bad the traffic gets on matchdays and I was determined to fit in a pint and a balti pie before kick-off. Walking up to the ground it looked like a decent turn-out considering the fact that it was on telly and so near to Christmas, I was also gutted that I didn't manage to secure a free pair of 'texting gloves' (or should that be 'txtng glvs'?) being given away by T-Mobile.





Fortified by the pie we took our seats in the Halfords Lane Stand, one thing I noticed was that since my last visit a few years back the more vocal West Brom fans seem to have relocated themselves from the Birmingham Road end to the back of the Smethwick End, probably so they can stand next to the away fans for the, *ahem* banter!
West Brom have a player called Pele in their side too, no relation!
The Baggies started off at whirlwind pace, they play decent football as far as I can tell and created several chances in the opening half hour, but failed to take any of them and so, inevitably, from a very rare Charlton attack they fell behind Hodgkiss was skinned on the left wing and the cross found Iwelumo unmarked.
In a bid to prove that me going to the toilet means someone scores, I went to the toilet and Albion scored! Roman Bednar got it and it was only later on the news that I saw what a lovely worked goal it was involving a delightful 1-2 with the impressive Zoltan Gera. It was no more than Albion deserved.


For some reason the announcer at half-time kept reminding us that The Hawthorns is the highest ground in England, and that it was cold today, I reckon he was just rubbing in the fact that I didn't get a pair of txtng glvs!
Albion were, if anything, even better after the break, they like to get the ball out wide and whip crosses in, it's a simple, almost old-fashioned way to play the game but when it's executed well it's good to watch, and when you have a player as good in the air as Gera you'll get goals. In the 50th minute Brunt crossed, Gera rose, 2-1, simple. A couple of minutes later and the same again only this time Weaver just managed to claw the ball away to safety, it was all West Brom now and surely a home win?
Well you'd have thought so but West Brom fell asleep after conceding a free kick near the halfway line and Izale McLeod's shot squirmed under Luke Stele for the equaliser. Tough on West Brom but they didn't drop their heads and once again Brunt crossed superbly from the left, Gera rose highest and West Brom had the lead, 3-2.
There was just time for a cameo from the very popular Kevin Phillips. Returning from injury he came on as a late sub and promptly turned he ball home from close range to seal the win. All in all an excellent game of football. West Brom should go up with this side, but to stay up they will need to have a better keeper than Luke Steele, improve a sometimes shaky defence and above all, keep hold of Zoltan Gera whose contract is up in the summer I believe.

One decent game will not convert me into a West Brom fan but I'll be back if they keep fiving me them cheap tickets!

Price: A bargain tenner for me and £2 for Cameron.
Attendance: 20,364
Balti Pie: Could have been warmer but tasty none the less.

1 comment:

Kieran said...

Tony Blair didn't open the school!
He just visited it!!!