West Bromwich Albion 1 - Bolton Wanderers 2
||Saturday 4th August 2018
||Sky Bet Championship
||Johnstone , Nyom , Bartley , Hegazi , Gibbs , Phillips , Livermore , Brunt , Barnes (Burke, 76 ), Rodriguez , Robson-Kanu |
Unused subs: Myhill, Morrison, Townsend, Barry, Adarabioyo, Harper
Manager: Darren Moore (c)
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A result that should serve as a bit of a wake-up call to all those who were happy to see us go down to the Championship on the grounds that we'd win a load of games. Despite dominating the possession stats by 72% to 28%, they ended up defeated by one good goal and one soft one, with a superb strike by loanee Harvey Barnes levelling the scores in first half added time.
The side was almost hard to recognise from the one that ended last season in the Premier league with Ben Foster, Daniel Sturridge, James McClean and Gregorz Krychowiak departed and transfer targets Salomon Rondon and Craig Dawson nowhere to be seen. New boys Sam Johnstone, Kyle Bartley and Harvey Barnes started and two others, Conor Townsend and Tosin Adarabioyo were on the bench.
Bolton took the lead with their first shot on goal when new signing Josh Magennis headed home after 18 minutes. Barnes equalised through a spectacular strike into the top corner, but they were unable to turn their dominance into more goals - so when Yanic Wildshut tapped home in the penultimate minute of the second half it suddenly felt that a long, hard season had just started.
I’m on holiday in Lanzarote and 15 minutes before kick-off learned the devastating news that The Bulldog pub (run by an Albion nut) had closed and with it my chances of watching the game were zero.
Here follows a short report from ‘my correspondent’ who had my season ticket for the game on the promise of a short review. We normally agree on most things, hopefully I’ll be able to watch the Forest match...
On the plus side we dominated the game without creating to many clear chances and deserved to win (all be it against one of the weaker teams in the league).
A stunning goal from a player that could go all the way. Could be our Koumas this season.
SOME of the negatives
- The starting line didn’t look to bad on paper. But they seemed to play like the quality would be enough and lack the fight needed.
- We still look like unless we score against these teams first we’re going to struggle to break them down.
- The central pairing does not work. Livermore still doesn’t do enough even at this level to deserve a start I’d sell him and get a more mobile player, brunt didn’t do enough today either over played at times.
- At this level you don’t win games in the middle of the park but you can lose them in there.
- When the game was going away from us nothing much on the bench to make an impact
- Kanu not good enough and no other striker to bring on.
- We missed Rondon.
- Our play was one paced and predictable.
- No plan B, didn’t make a change till 6 minutes from time then weakened us when he did.
- We had all the ball 2nd half but no idea didn’t look to give them anything new to deal with.
Every time the ball was put in our box for the first time in years we looked vulnerable and there will be a lot of this to come.
- Johnstone 6 - Steady but unspectacular
- Nyom 6 - Up and down but switched off at times
- Hegazi 3 - Crap on the ball,out muscled out of position far to often and worst of all didn’t seem to be bothered definitely a man who wants out
- Bartley 5 - A level below what we’ve been used to lately more Leon Barnett than G Mac, but may have been unnerved by the above
- Gibbs 7 - Assured at this level
- Phillips 8 - MOTM looks like he's been on the Saido diet but still the best player on the pitch. The most likely to make something happen
- Livermore 4 - Ineffective, didn’t get a grip of the game at any point. All his passing was backwards or side at best even when time was running out
- Brunt 5 - The armband most be made of lead. Tried but at times too much his pass and cross not up to his standards
- Barnes 8 - The best first touch I’ve seen, scored a screamer looks a real talent just showed his age at times by not doing the right things at the right time but will be key if we’re to have a good season
- Jay Rod 6 - Some nice touch but no real service played most of his game too far away from goal.
- Kanu 3 - Immobile, some glimpses of his skill but never a risk to goal. If he has to play more an handful of games this year we’re in for a bad season
- Burke 5 - Had 2 Forest Gump moments that came to nothing.
A silver lining!
Albion have never been promoted to the Premier League after winning their first match of the Championship season.