Albion - West Ham 3-2 (2-2) 08/09

ImageLikt med United nå. Så dette kan bli morro fremover. Ganske lenge siden Albion scoret 3 mål i en PL kamp. 

(Følg med i klassen Cunningham! Vi har aldri scoret 3 før, kun 0, 1, 2, og to ganger 4.     Butler.     PS: 5 til søndag?)


In a roller coaster game against West Ham United at the Hawthorns, Albion took an early lead, trailed, equalised before half time and then snatched a thrilling late winner.

The Baggies made four changes; Carl Hoefkens and Jonas Olsson replacing the injured Gianni Zuiverloon and Abdoulaye Meite in defence, with Chris Brunt preferred to Do-Heon Kim in midfield and Roman Bednar starting up front rather than Ishmael Miller.

Timed at 2 minutes 16 seconds, Albion opened the scoring with the quickest Premier League goal of the season. Borja Valero picked up a loose ball wide right and with his marker distracted by a dummy run from Carl Hoefkens, he whipped in a searching cross and James Morrison got in front of a defender to beat the keeper with a glancing header. The Baggies had to resist sporadic attacks from the Hammers and Scott Carson made the first of several good stops, beating away a shot from Ashton. This was balanced by a big chance at the other end when Green flapped at and missed a cross, but Bednar headed wide. Midway through the half Albion carved open West Ham with a glorious move. It began with an astute pass from Jonas Olsson to Roman Bednar, he laid the ball off to James Morrison who picked out Robert Koren racing through the centre, but from the edge of the box the Slovenian captain failed to beat the advancing Robert Green. In the 29th minute the Hammers were level against the run of play. A centre from the left reached Di Michele on the far post and although Scott Carson brilliantly saved his downward header, the ball ran to Noble who tapped home. There were strong suspicions of offside but TV replays are too close to call. The 35th minute saw West Ham take the lead but only after Carson made another fine stop when Di Michele fortuitously found himself one-on-one against the keeper. From the left wing corner the ball was headed back across the area and Neill volleyed home from close range. Albion desperately needed an equaliser before the break and they got one in the 37th minute. Greening was chopped down wide left, Chris Brunt took the free kick and when Green fumbled the cross Leon Barnett latched onto the free ball only for the keeper to pull him down. A penalty and Roman Bednar stepped up to coolly take the opportunity. There was time for one more stop by Carson, from a fierce rising drive, before a palpitating half came to a close.

The second half saw the game open up as both sides tired in the surprisingly hot conditions. Bednar twice came close as the home side had more possession than the visitors. Sensing this was a match that could be won, just after the hour Tony Mowbray brought on a second striker Luke Moore for Valero and introduced Do-Heon Kim for Morrison. In the 83rd minute the Baggies netted what was to prove the winner from a superb counter-attacking move which swept the length of the field. The impressive Jonas Olsson began the move by winning a header from a West Ham corner and after Roman Bednar played the ball back to him, finding Robert Koren with a pinpoint pass. The ball was swept wide to Paul Robinson, he picked out Chris Brunt racing through the centre and the Irishman beat both defender and keeper with a left footed cross shot. With Marek Cech on for the hard working Bednar we endured four minutes of stoppage time. Scott Carson had one more crucial save to make, from a close range prod by Parker, but Albion could have scored another when, with three against two, only desperate defending thwarted the home side.

This was a hugely important victory. For significant periods against Everton and Bolton Wanderers and to a lesser extent at Arsenal we proved we could pass the ball and compete against Premier League opponents. However, we needed to show that we could go one step further and turn possession into goals and goals into victory and we did that against West Ham with a fine overall performance.

Good teams have a strong spine and yesterday our top three players were Scott Carson in goal, Jonas Olsson in central defence and Roman Bednar at centre forward. Add to that a five man midfield that all played well and you have a recipe for success. Credit too to Tony Mowbray, who persevered with a ball-playing five man midfield, brought on an extra striker at the right time and when many may have substituted him, kept on the scorer of the winning goal.

Scott Carson made countless vital saves to earn man-of-the-match, but Jonas Olsson was not far behind. A 6ft 4ins defender who can win the ball in the air and distribute on the ground is every Albion fan’s dream addition to the squad, what an impressive debut. Our other star was Roman Bednar, who showed how to play as a one-man striker by holding the ball up to bring other players into the game as well as chasing everything played up to him. If he starts and we have Miller or MacDonald as impact substitutes, with Zuiverloon strengthening the defence, we may be on the right track. Bring on the Villa!

STATISTICS

Albion’s last victory against West Ham United at the Hawthorns was also in the top flight, on Saturday 4th May 1985, by 5-1, in front of just 8,834 fans! Since then we’ve played six League and an FA Cup game at home to the Hammers and drawn only two.

ALBION FORMRATE: GOOD

MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: SCOTT CARSON