West Bromwich Albion 2 - Bournemouth 0
I can’t have been the only fan wondering if the drive to ground was even worth the petrol cost.
With old trampoline feet Grant out altogether, presumably through injury, and Robinson benched we had Carroll and Grady up front.
The opening exchanges saw us hardly bother to press in open play but pushing right up on them from goal kicks and it sort of worked, forcing them into errors.
Still, it was a surprise to see us score in the first half, Mowatt finishing well after what looked like a foul on Carroll. Rather than elation I think I celebrated by shouting something like “F*ck off you knee sliding fraud”, 8 minutes of a game being not enough to cleanse my memory of the Blues game.
And before we knew it we nabbed a second. Andy Carroll seemed to win a foot race on a ball over the top for the first time since... possibly ever... and then took an age to lamp it hard and low across the keeper. I celebrated that one properly, fickle as I am.
We were all shocked. Our players, their players, the crowd, both sets of coaching staff. Nobody could work out what was going on or what to do about it.
And from there we played like an away team… covering space but letting them have the ball, threatening a bit on the break. We certainly rode our luck to keep a clean sheet and on another day they might have scored a couple or maybe even more.
On our part, I thought the sheer grit through the spine of Clarke, Livermore and Carroll just about did enough to earn the points.
Are we a team of bottlers who only get results when the pressure is off? Probably. Have the results against Fulham and Bournemouth shown how poor the league really is, and how not finishing in the top 6 with our squad, despite its shortcomings, is a collective failure of everyone involved this season? 100%. It’s a massive failure and under achievement and a huge opportunity missed. Next season will be much harder and the consequences of failure far grimmer.
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