West Bromwich Albion 1 - Blackburn Rovers 1

Date: Saturday 27th October 2018 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Johnstone 6.2, Dawson 6.0, Adarabioyo 6.0, Bartley 3.6 (Robson-Kanu, 87 3.3), Phillips 5.6, Morrison 6.9, Livermore 5.6, Townsend 5.6, Barnes 5.5 (Brunt, 76 4.4), Rodriguez 4.4, Sako 5.7 (Hoolahan, 60 4.4)
Unused subs: Myhill, Burke, Mears, Field
Manager: Darren Moore 3.9
Scorers: Dawson (40)
Attendance: 23,820   Home Fans 5.4   Away Fans 5.8

Brendan Clegg:

Disappointing result against a team totally there for the taking.

We continued with the 3-4-1-2 and were the better team but a long way off functioning.

Morrison added better control and decision making in midfield but we were weak and lacking pace on the left, not great on the ball at the back and Sako was very rusty.

I thought the game swung on Moore’s subs which I thought were really poor.

Sako had run out of steam but we needed pace - as soon as he went off Blackburn pushed up to halfway knowing we couldn’t hurt them and although their equaliser was a great strike it looked inevitable.

Brunt for Barnes was another very strange call given it came after they scored. I’m not sure what it was supposed to give us to win the game and although Barnes was being a bit greedy and making poor decisions I’d have switched his position but kept him on- and HRK for Bartley was too little too late.

He might be miles away from ready but at 1-0 Burke for Sako would’ve at least given us an out ball and a threat. Same at 1-1 and at any point in the game. He was our only pace option on the bench as Edwards wasn’t in the squad.

I felt all this was made worse when we were gifted with them going down to 10 with an outfielder in goal yet couldn’t muster a serious chance until the death.

Darren Moore is a wonderful man but he’s looking out of his depth here - what a rubbish situation but I can’t be alone in fearing he was cheap and easy option. I just think he’s plain wrong in his approach, tactics and subs most of the time and I don’t see this system as a viable option long term even with better players in it.

With this squad, being outside the top 2 is under-achieving. How long will it go on?

  • Johnstone - 6 Good saves and no chance with goal but some poor kicks as he is clearly told to play it out.
  • Bartley - 5 Passes got worse as the game went on. Simply can’t do what he’s being asked to and made worse being on his wrong side. He’s not even as good a player as Darren Moore was yet we’d never have expected Moore to play this role.
  • Dawson - 6 A bit better but still some terrible passes.
  • Tosin - 6 Did better and has inexperience as an excuse. Some vital tackles.
  • Phillips - 6 Still not fully at it but a good option when we worked him into it.
  • Livermore - 5 Very sloppy passing but worked hard.
  • Morrison - 7 Just about our best player today but has lost that 5 yard thrust he had, so he needs legs around him.
  • Townsend - 6 Positive but tired. Needs minutes but nowhere near as good as Gibbs.
  • Barnes - 6 Still a threat even if his choices today were really poor.
  • Sako - 6 Rusty and unpredictable but scared them with his pace and strength and threatened.
  • JRod - 4 Started okay but missed a sitter and a follow up. Absolutely no threat 2nd half. Needs to be dropped.
  • Hoolahan - 5 seemed to get in the way.
  • Brunt - 5 not really the game-changer we needed.
  • HRK - 5 Standard.

Funky Fudge:

Sadly, yet another game without a clean sheet.

I also think we are turning out to be a team without a plan B. In the first half the commentators were saying that Blackburn were pushing 4 players up to our 18 yard line when Johnstone had the ball to prevent us from passing out from the back and we didn’t seem to want to be more imaginative, perhaps by sending a ball longer (fewer of their players would have been further up the pitch). When we played QPR they were a shambles. They are now 2 points behind us. You can only assume their manager has changed something. Apparently Lampard at Derby started the season wanting to play football in the same style as us, it wasn’t working so he mixed it up a bit so that they play when they can, counter when they can and go longer when they can.

Any team that puts a good run together will get automatic promotion in this year. However, there are far too many teams in with a shout of a top six place.