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One of those days

Posted on 28 December 2008  - 12:00

Our fixtures for the year ended with a defeat as two late goals secured victory for West Brom at the Hawthorns.

One of those days

Our fixtures for the year ended with a defeat as two late goals secured victory for West Brom at the Hawthorns.

We were down to ten men for 55 minutes of the game due to a straight red card being shown to Benoit Assou-Ekotto but not enough chances were created even allowing for the reduction.

In the end Roman Bednar's header - looking very much like a foul on Michael Dawson - coupled with substitute Andy Beattie's stoppage time finish applied icing on the cake for the home side.

Luka Modric was the victim of a crude challenge from Jonas Olsson in the first incident of the encounter on what was a crisp afternoon with what felt like a considerable chill factor. The same home player, along with Jonathan Greening, a minute later felled Darren Bent with a thud as the Baggies clearly sought to place their mark on the meeting early on.

James Morrison was first to try his luck with a shot on goal, drifting in from the right and wafting an effort across the back of our defensive line before, at the other end, Bent was unable to pick out a blue shirt with his cut back following a David Bentley throughball.

A Vedran Corluka foul on Roman Bednar resulted in Heurelho Gomes being worked for the first time, Borja Valero's free-kick from the edge of the area forcing the keeper to save low to his left, with Scott Carson doing similar 22 minutes in to deny Bent.

Assou-Ekotto received his marching orders for raising his foot in a challenge with Gianni Zuiverloon on 35 minutes, with the temperature having been raised in the preceeding action when Olson chopped down Bent in full flight.

But we were down to ten and Didier Zokora dropped in at left-back with Modric now deployed in a deeper position.

For the goalkeepers it was not a busy half, just a bit of mopping up duties behind the defences. Probably the busiest individual was our physio, who it seemed was sprinting on at regular intervals.

Bentley had the chance to open the scoring five minutes before the break following an Aaron Lennon dash, but his shot was hurried and flew wide.

Into the second half and Gomes made a magnificent save to stop Chris Brunt's free-kick from the edge of the area sailing into the top corner. The set-piece was awarded for slight contact made by Jermaine Jenas on Valero and it really required Gomes to come up trumps again - and he certainly didn't disappoint.

The 11 men were not dominating the ten, however, and some of the football played by the team of the reduced number was quite fluid at times, although the game was still something of a scrap. Dawson was up to the task when Zuiverloon zipped in a low cross that beat the reach of Gomes and the defender made the vital interception before Luke Moore or Bednar could apply a tap-in finish.

Harry made two substitutions in quick succession, Jamie O'Hara taking the place of Bentley, with Gareth Bale later replacing Modric. The change meant O'Hara moving into the middle, with Bale operating ahead of Zokora down the left flank.

West Brom finally made their numerical advantage count in the 83rd minute when a Marek Cech cross was met flush on the head by Bednar, with his effort flying into the top corner. It did appear, however, that Dawson was shoved out of the way while the cross was in flight.

Fraizer Campbell was summoned from his warm up for the final four or five minutes, with Zokora sacrificed, but it was Bednar next in making an impact and forced another fine save from Gomes in the process.

There was nothing Gomes could do when Cech and Morrison combined to set up Beattie for a simple finish in front of goal just seconds before the final whistle.