Saturday 11th November.
Thank goodness I’m going on my holidays tomorrow! After today’s
miserable and gutless showing I will be pleased to put a couple
of thousand miles between Huddersfield Town and myself. There is
no hiding from the fact that today’s performance was nothing short
of dire, and they had the look of a side resigned to a downward
change in divisions next May.
Surprisingly even though both Gallen and Smith were fit to play,
Macari chose only to play Kevin Gallen from the off with Martin
Smith named as substitute. Perhaps Macari has spotted what most
of us in the stands have seen, Smith and Gallen are too similar
and do not seem to complement each other.
I really cannot describe how poor we were, particularly in the
first half when West Brom looked twice as quick, and we looked like
a team who had never met before 3 o’clock. The crowd were quiet
and seemed to be struck with some sort of apathy and almost resigned
to defeat from the early stages of the game. When West Brom. took
the lead in the 29th minute it was met with a feeling of inevitability
that it was going to be yet another bad day at the office for Town.
Once again Town’s midfield squandered possession too easily and
West Broms Portuguese import Jordao advanced towards the penalty
box, exchanged a pass with Jason Roberts and advanced into the area
and shot past the helpless Nico Vaesen. The goal did at least seem
to briefly rouse Town from their slumbers and Dean Gorré shot narrowly
wide from distance followed by a half chance for Gallen but his
control was poor. It is not to say that Town were completely without
opportunities to score themselves, but just seemed to lack punch
up front and never really looked like collecting 3 points from a
home game for the first time this season. Most of the rare forays
into the visitor’s penalty area were too easily snuffed out, and
when they did manage a shooting effort the keeper was rarely troubled
with an accurate shot.
10 minutes after taking the lead, West Brom. doubled their lead
through top marksman Lee Hughes. After fellow striker Jason Roberts
mis-kicked an effort towards goal, the former Kidderminster forward
Hughes took the ball and neatly steered the ball past the helpless
Vaesen into the corner of the net. This effectively sealed the win
for the midlands club and condemned the McAlpine faithful to another
home defeat. In first half stoppage time Chris Lucketti latched
onto a poor clearance from the West Brom. keeper but his header
went marginally wide.
The players left the field to boos from the fans who could be
bothered to show their frustration, but many just remained silent,
as indifference had set in amongst the faithful. Macari and Jordan
must have had some harsh words for the players at half time, because
they looked slightly better in the second period but still never
looked like pulling this one out of the bag. Jenkins and Gallen
made way for Smith and Irons at half time, presumably to try to
go for the win but it was all to no avail.
Chances were at a premium for both sides and in the second half
and the best chance for a home goal fell again to Chris Lucketti
when his header shaved the top of the crossbar in the 54th minute
but other than this we created nothing worthy. Although West Brom.
didn’t pose as much of an attacking threat in the second half and
it always looked to be a lost cause as the Baggies had the air of
a side that knew they had accomplished their task and didn’t have
to waste too much energy repelling Town’s impotent attack.
We need some extra guile up front, and desperately need someone
who can hold the ball up – perhaps a player in the Wayne Alison
mould a player who in my humble opinion was prematurely released
by Steve Bruce. We also need a decent free kick taker, because on
the few occasions we have a place kick in a threatening position
the fans in row Z are more in danger than the back of the net. Dean
Gorré tried his luck today but the goalkeeper easily collected his
Once again 3 points have passed us by and the gap to safety grows
ever larger, we are now 8 points behind the team in 21st place and
this means that we must win at least 3 games before we could even
mathematically climb out of the bottom three. The way we are picking
up points at the moment 8 points seems to be an increasingly unbridgeable
gap and with almost 6 months of the season left life in division
one looks doomed.
The apathy felt by the supporters during the match has turned
into anger after the game, as a radio report on the way home said
that there was a demonstration in front of the main entrance from
around 250 or so fans. Little else was said about the demonstration,
but hopefully Mr Rubery will realise that football isn’t just money,
a lot of people have very strong emotional feeling towards their
team and they will not accept gutless displays like this one today.
Despite the mistakes made by giving Steve Bruce too much money to
spend unwisely, Macari must be given at least a small amount of
funding to try to bring some new faces into this jaded side.
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Jordao 29, Hughes
Position in table – 24th
Town – Vaesen; Jenkins (Irons 45); Kozluk;
Armstrong; Lucketti; Gray; Baldry; Sellars; Gorré; Gallen
(Smith 45); Thornley (Senior 80). Subs not used – Margetson;
West Bromwich Albion – Jensen; Chambers;
Van Blerk; Lyttle; Clement; Butler; Fox (Oliver 90); Sneekes;
Roberts (Quinn 89); Hughes; Jordao. Subs not used – Adamson;
Referee – David Ellaray (Harrow). Attendance