Coventry City 0 - West Bromwich Albion 0
Sky Blues Bore for Baggies
Albion earned a point against Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena, when for the second away match in succession they dominated open play without scoring. Disappointingly, we created very few chances, in a game which failed to excite either set of supporters.
There were two changes as we returned to 4-5-1. Chris Wood was the forward to miss out, with Abdoulaye Meite returning to the back four and Gonzalo Jara reinforcing the midfield, where he was joined by Robert Koren, preferred to Marek Cech.
Albion enjoyed the majority of the possession during the first half, as play was concentrated in the Coventry half, at the far end of the ground from the travelling fans. Although we forced a number of corners, clear-cut chances were in short supply. The last five minutes saw Albion pressure almost pay off. Firstly, Jerome Thomas cut inside from the left and unleashed a rising drive which substitute goalkeeper, Konstantopoulos managed to deflect around the post. Then, in added time, the same player took on and beat Cranie, only to trip well inside the box. The Albion bench frantically appealed for a penalty, but not only did referee Stroud refuse; he booked the Albion winger for diving.
Although Albion continued to have more of the play, by midway through the second half we seemed to be running out of ideas. The introduction of Felipe Teixeira, for Koren, did add a spark to our approach play, but we were still too predictable. Only after Chris Wood replaced the ineffectual Moore, did we produce a flowing move which deserved a goal. Graham Dorrans played the killer ball to the young striker, but although he struck his shot well, a combination of the keeper and a defender succeeded in keeping the ball out. Fears that a very late surge by the home side might grab the points were unfounded and the final whistle curtailed a very dull goalless draw.
Coventry were a very poor team and we?ll get few better chances to win on our travels.
The defence gave a solid display, particularly Abdoulaye Meite; the midfield battled well, retained the ball, typified by Youssouf Mulumbu and Gonzalo Jara, but seldom looked inspirational. The biggest threat came from Jerome Thomas. I detailed our striking limitations in the midweek report. These shortcomings are recognised by the media, the fans and more pertinently by two of our former heroes, Tony Brown and Bob Taylor, at a recent meeting I attended. I?m sure that ?head coach? Roberto Di Matteo is not unaware of the problem. The question is why haven?t sporting director Dan Ashworth and Chairman Jeremy Peace brought in players, either loan or permanent, for the injured Miller and the strikers who have left? The form team are QPR and they have two players on loan from the Premiership, one of whom we know well, Jay Simpson, who is scoring goals for fun.
Over 4,000 Baggies fans today, but we (and I have to include myself) didn?t give much support. What a contrast with the impressive encouragement at say Sheffield United and Middlesbrough, mind you there was a lot more to cheer!
Albion travelled to the Ricoh Arena for the fourth time; having won on each of the three previous visits, scoring ten times and keeping a clean sheet in every match. A 1-0 victory in the last away game of 2006/07, was followed by a 4-0 Championship win on Monday 12th November 2007, when two goals from Felipe Teixeira, were sandwiched between strikes from Paul Robinson and Robert Koren. This result was topped later that season by a 5-0 triumph in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup. Extraordinarily, in every one of those three matches, the Sky Blues had a man sent off! Over the last forty years, both of City?s stadiums have proved happy hunting grounds for the Baggies, with ten wins and four draws in eighteen leagues matches, plus four unbeaten cup ties.
ALBION FORMRATE: DULL
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: YOUSSOUF MULUMBU
Albion no longer lead the Championship. Our disappointing run of one win in six games, since we began the season unbeaten in eight, means that we slip down to third, behind Newcastle United and Cardiff City, with Queens Park Rangers threatening to overtake us, when they play their game in hand.
Unfortunately, I don't get to away games these days - although I live closer to the Ricoh Stadium than I do to the Hawthorns - so no match report. Just one plaintive question: "What the **** is the manager doing playing Luke Moore as a lone striker, or even playing him at all?"
His record for the Albion is abysmal; Villa supporters smirk at getting rid of him in the same way that we do about Nathan Ellington; the only reason that he is with the club is presumably through a shady clause in the deal that took Davies to Villa. Good job Di Matteo is not picking the team for the Olympics or we would have Ronnie Corbett in the heavyweight boxing team and Dawn French running in the 100 metres hurdles...
Our best chance now is to hold on to a top six or seven position until January and hope to God that we can pick up a decent striker. Oh yes... and flog Luke Warm to Grimsby Town.
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