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MATCH REPORT

Posted on 27 March 2006  - 12:00

Robbie Keane scored his 50th and 51st Premiership goal in our colours as the team came from behind to snatch a dramatic victory over West Brom at the Lane.

Robbie Keane scored his 50th and 51st Premiership goal in our colours as the team came from behind to snatch a dramatic victory over West Brom at the Lane.

His second was No. 100 for Robbie in his league career.

A goal down at half-time to a Curtis Davies header, it looked like it was going to be one of those nights - even when Keane struck a fine leveller, a point was not the outcome we were after. It took a failure to properly clear his lines from visiting keeper Tomasz Kusczak on 88 minutes to bring about the late drama that saw the West Brom players holding their heads at the final whistle.

Despite being a little frenetic, the teams spent the first 15 minutes sizing each other up, providing the thrust but not the cut to create anything in the way of clear chances. Nathan Ellington took a bit of shy on goal after 12 minutes, while not exactly forcing Robbo into any consideration of diving. Jonathan Greening embarked on a mazy dash moments later and it took the power and precision of Michael Dawson to stop him in his tracks - the same player then throwing himself head-first into the path of a fierce drive from Steve Watson.

West Brom's spell of pressure was rewarded on 20 minutes when a Greening free-kick was arrowed into our penalty area and, out of the several outstretched heads straining to to make a connection, the most accurate was Davies whose glanced and downward header defeated Robinson to his left and rattled the net.

Aaron Lennon came close to creating the perfect response, but his speedy dart down the left flank and into the area was foiled by the advancing keeper Tomasz Kusczak. The boys really turned up the head ahead of half-time, with Jermain Defoe coming close to wiggling free in the area, while the pace of Lennon was greatly unsettling Martin Albrechtsen.

Defoe then let fly and forced Kusczak into a fingertip save, before Ledley King was denied by a deflection following a Michael Carrick corner from the right. Lennon came close to levelling in first half stoppage time but Kusczak saved well again down to his right.

The team was finally in tune and the Baggies in retreat.

Martin made a switch after the interval with Edgar Davids coming inside from the left - Lennon taking over there - and Jermaine Jenas moving out to the right flank. The boys started the half on the offensive but with no real sign of a breakthrough, as Albion's rugged ranks stood firm.

Jenas was not far away from the top corner on 52 minutes and the crowd were getting increasingly frustrated over the time Kusczak was taking over goal kicks and clearances.

Mido was introduced just before the hour mark in place of Stephen Kelly, with Jenas appearing to slot into the right full-back position - doubtless with license to bomb on at will.

Mido nearly made an immediate impact when Defoe slotted him through on goal but he dragged his shot slightly and it went across the face of goal.

Relief and joy flowed from the stands on 67 minutes when Keane bought the scores level. Some fine interchange involving the goalscorer, Mido, Lee and Michael Carrick led to the latter threading the ball into the area and Keane superbly lifted the ball over Kusczak and into the net.

Kusczak was tested again when the Carrick-Defoe free-kick routine from last season went a bit wrong and the ball landed at the feet of the bigger striker before Robbo had to be sharp to field a Kanu header at the far post, plucking the ball from underneath his crossbar.

Danny Murphy was next off the bench as a winning goal was sought - Davids sacrificed in the middle - but it was Watson who worked Robinson again in the subsequent move.

The game ended in jubilation when Kusczak made a hash of of his clearance and Defoe scurried through on goal. The Pole chased him down - fouling in the process - and referee Mr Foy whistled for a penalty. In the meantime, Mido had struck the ball into the net, but a penalty it was and Keane did the honours with no mistake.