West Bromwich Albion 4 - Reading 1
Arriving at the ground I was disappointed with the starting 11.
Mears on the right again with Phillips injured and no Burke or Leko on the bench where, despite a large number of games over a short period for our ageing midfield, Field was also absent.
Fears were confirmed from the off as we had lots of the ball but no options especially on the right.
Reading sat in, waited for us to lose it and then hit us with quick passes through our midfield and into the big gaps in our defensive channels.
The corner we conceded from was terrible- fast asleep- but a brutal finish.
Fortunately it was the only time in the game Reading finished that well because first half they had 4 other good chances whereas apart from a couple of near misses when we crossed from the byline we created little.
I’d have hooked Mears at half time for Edwards but he survived long enough to scoop a rare crossing opportunity to the far post where terrible Reading defending/Goalkeeping allowed Gayle to nod in.
Edwards came on and thereafter we dominated. Whereas Mears’ lack of pace meant Reading could leave him and double up elsewhere, the threat and running of Edwards opened the game up for Barnes, Rodriguez and Gayle.
It was Edwards and Barnes who combined with brilliant pace to set up the corner from which we scored our second, Barnes hit a really classy third and Bartley looped in a fourth.
At half time this looked terrible so you have to credit Moore with at least changing it early but his master strokes this season has been getting Gayle and Barnes. They’re too good for anyone in this division and keep rescuing us.
Ticking over nicely going into the break and a work in progress but those of us who were bored to death in the EPL survival cycle are getting entertained as we wished for.
Our weekend away was cancelled due to the bad weather forecast and my half-time forecast was cancelled due to one of the most remarkable changes in performance I can recall. Reach for the Valium.
Like many others, I was in despair watching our Manager of the Month looking on totally bemused by so many very poor individual performances and the terrible marking that led to their deserved opening goal.
But this is a growing theme — is it a brilliant tactic or are we now a second half team? 70% of our 31 goals have been scored after the interval. I might turn up at 4pm next time?
I note that Darren Moore has defended his choice of Mears to replace Phillips and I think it is slightly unfair to criticise Mears – we have what it says on the tin. However the best Kyle on the pitch (Edwards) eventually turned the WBA mood.
I am getting used to Bartley’s incompetence and I am fascinated by all the pointing he does... however, he can head the ball very effectively from our corners (not theirs) - particularly Brunt's.
I was shocked at the poor performance from Livermore and well done to our manager for taking him off—which resulted in at least 2 magnificent through passes from the ageing Brunt.
I just love watching the electric Barnes with his Hazzard like mazy runs and a lethal shot. Please can we cancel January and keep him?
No goals for Peterborough yesterday so we are now proudly the leading scorers in all 4 divisions and, with 31 goals (Gayle 8, Rodriguez 7, Barnes 5), we have now scored the same total as we did in the whole of last season. (cc Pulis!)
All text, pictures and graphics are copyright of BOING unless otherwise stated