What a match! End to end stuff, especially in the second half, with both teams missing at least three good chances, meant that the score could realistically have been 6-6!
Albion started slowly, again, giving a goal away after 11 minutes (a fine shot to the top corner giving Boaz Myhill no chance), though at least we got through the first opening minutes without conceding. We then started to play, albeit in snatches and got a deserved equaliser.
My notes at half time suggested that we could have gone a goal down before we actually did, with DJ Campbell screwing a shot just wide, and that we played well but without dominating.
Youssouf Mulumbu was the man of the half, again, and broke up many dangerous looking attacks, as well as looking to go forward at every opportunity. James Morrison seemed quiet, as was Peter O, though he took his chance well, having been put through by Graham Dorrans.
Myhill replaced Scott Carson, with Brunt taking the captain’s armband, and Mulumbu and Thomas returning from illness, and Gabriel Tamas from a ban.
Slack marking, from a short corner (again!) led to the fine opening goal, which led us to start playing football. The visitors’ movement off the ball and passing were impressive, and one wondered whether it was going to be one of those afternoons, with confidence already low before the game taking a further knock after going behind.
Certainly the players were not playing in a positive manner, though we started to get some joy down the left, with Thomas. There seemed a lack of purpose in much of our play, with half-hearted challenges – one of which led to us nearly going 0-2 down. One suspected we would not have come back from that. Instead we persevered and got our just rewards, when Dorrans put a fine ball into the path of Peter O, who controlled it well before tucking it away.
We started the second half the better team, and when we went down the other end, Thomas went past his man and Morrison managed to get a foot onto the ball – his third goal of the
season, and two in the last two home matches. We wondered at first whether it was an own goal, but it was clear for all to see that our man got the touch.
He should then have added to his tally, but shot straight at the keeper. Blackpool still threatened going forward, and the game was always in doubt, though Peter O should have made it 3-1, with the keeper saving well with his legs. He then played provider, but Morrison blazed over, after possibly getting a bobble as he shot.
They then equalised, with ten’ to go, and we all thought we had surrendered two points, with even the visitors pressing for the win. The winning goal, when it came, was route one stuff – Peter collecting a long punt and somehow managing to slip it home. The ground erupted…
What was different in the second half was that we started pressing the opposition more, being faster in the tackle and looking far more determined – a tactic that pleased the crowd. One doesn’t mind it so much when we get stuck in, as well as continuing to play football – it’s when we don’t that we get annoyed and frustrated.
Three priceless points meant we had stopped the run of defeats (six), added to our points tally (25), moved up the table (14th), and reduced our goal deficit (-12).
Mulumbu was rightly man of the match – website and at the ground (52 per cent of the votes cast), and we had 57 per cent of the play.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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