West Bromwich Albion 0 - Bristol City 2
Reality check there. It’s a nightmare getting near the Hawthorns for midweek games and I pretty much abandoned the car in Smethwick and walked a couple of miles to make kickoff.
Without dwelling too much on it, I thought it was a marginal game that we didn’t deserve to lose. We hit the woodwork twice, missed a sitter and had enough corners and crosses but lacked quality again.
If there was any doubt, the major thing we learned is that 2 games in quick succession is too much for our dads army of Livermore, Phillips, Pieters and Kelly. They all struggled.
We looked certain to score and in no trouble for the first 15 minutes (apart from a real let off in minute 1), then Bristol used their formation to keep the ball away from us without really threatening.
But we conceded a cheap goal - Phillips doing too much before losing the ball and then some powder puff defending let them score.
The turning point of the game was probably the Phillips miss- left footed from about 12 yards with only the keeper to beat after a good cut back. If that goes in it’s a different game, and then they went up the other end and flashed a goal in from a half chance.
I thought Molumby for Livermore at HT was the right call to give us more energy but as a caretaker boss, 2-0 down with nothing to lose, I thought Beale threw the game away by taking Diagana off so early, rather than giving it 20 minutes with 2 centre backs instead of 3 and either 4-4-2 or 4-3–3/4-5-1.
In general I felt the 3-4-3 we started with had the same problems Ismael encountered just with different personnel; Diagana and Wallace were so narrow that at times they were 10 yards from each other and we had no out ball or width. It might be solid at 0-0 but concede first and it becomes totally ineffective.
So it was pretty much a write-off 2nd half with little cohesion as we moved Wallace and TGH all over the place before TGH came off despite being our best player.
Cleary will benefit from the minutes but he looks a fair way off as he did on Saturday - the development between 18 and 20 is huge and ultimately he weakened us. Beale was probably too ideological about giving him minutes.
Still a big job to do but I wouldn’t be surprised if we went and beat Millwall.
Yes the more fundamental problem with the Club remains the Ownership, which is not going to get resolved quickly.
But I think the very negative impact Steve 'The Dinosaur' Bruce had on the Team, over his disastrous 8 months, is going to take more than one game, and an Interim Manager, to resolve.
For example, how on earth did 'The Dinosaur' actually make players like Swift and Yokoslu into bad players when they never have been for all the other Teams in their careers?
Tonight I thought we started quite brightly, pressed them, and put them on the back foot. But again the lack of a Goalscorer was an issue, and in the end we didn't have one shot on target all game.
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