Peterborough United 0 - West Bromwich Albion 2
Albion's League form may be patchy, but in the League Cup so far it's played two, won two and two clean sheets. Tony Mowbray made six changes from the starting lineup that lost at Brammall Lane on Saturday.
In came Hodgkiss, Cesar, Clement, Gera, Chaplow and Ellington with the bench featuring a welcome return to fitness for Robert Koren. And two of those changes obliged with goals in the first half; Gera heading home from a corner after a good period of pressure and several missed chances, and Ellington volleying in Craig Beattie's pass from 6 yards just before half time.
Koren got 20 minutes of action under his belt when he replaced Texeira, and Mowbray gave runouts to MacDonald and Tininho as Albion made another cup win look relatively straightforward.
Albion progressed to the last thirty-two of the Carling Cup against Peterborough United at London Road, where just a fortnight ago the League Two outfit had provided one of the shocks of the First Round by beating Championship Southampton.
Tony Mowbray reverted to his "League Cup" line-up, with just three changes from the side which beat Bournemouth, Neil Clement taking over at left back and Zoltan Gera and Richard Chaplow returning to the midfield. The much anticipated debut of Chris Brunt didn't materialise because we signed him hours before Sheffield Wednesday's Carling Cup Round One tie, meaning that it didn't count as part of his three match ban.
We could and probably should have been two goals up inside the opening ten minutes. Firstly Nathan Ellington and Richard Chaplow combined to set-up Beattie, but from point-bank range he blazed over the bar. Then Chaplow played Teixeira through, but after skipping past his marker the Portuguese midfielder's shot had insufficient power to beat the keeper. As Albion dominated the half Dean Kiely was forced into a rare save, diving to his left to keep out a twenty yard free kick. In the 33rd minute the Baggies took a deserved lead when Zoltan Gera headed home Neil Clement's inswinging corner kick at the far post. We had to wait until the 44th minute for a second goal. Albion broke quickly from defence and Neil Clement hit a pinpoint crossfield ball to Zoltan Gera who cracked a powerful half volley which keeper Jalal did well to parry. Craig Beattie won possession of the rebound before the ball fell to Nathan Ellington who fired high into the roof of the net from a few yards out.
The Posh put up a much more spirited display after the break, but the closest they came was a header which Dean Kiely saved at full stretch. With twenty minutes remaining Robert Koren made a welcome return from injury. Minutes later another quick break almost led to a first Albion goal for Jared Hodgkiss. Richard Chaplow crossed from the right and the young full back, arriving in the inside left position, hit a fierce low left footed shot which Jalal did well to save.
Albion didn't match an excellent first half performance after the break but still progressed fairly comfortably into the next round. The defence earned another clean sheet, with Albrechtsen and Cesar forming a solid partnership, although they weren't put under a lot of pressure. Zoltan Gera picked up my man-of-the-match award after figuring in both goals. Fringe players Jared Hodgkiss and Richard Chaplow both performed well in part, but just like at Sheffield we looked lightweight in midfield and none of the three strikers were convincing.
Our fans, in much better voice than at Bramall Lane, numbered over a thousand in a gate of only 4,917. The victory was our first over the Posh in the League Cup since the Semi-Final of 1965-66, when we went on to beat West Ham United in the Final.
ALBION FORMRATE: GOOD
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: ZOLTAN GERA
Well its been a while since i posted a game report (couple of years?) but i and 5 others did make the journey to London Road so here goes.
Overall a solid performance. Held possession for much of the game. Posh had 15-20 mins after the restart but never really looked liked scoring.
Excellent performances for:
TexMex - far too often bullied off the ball. I hope we didnt offer him a contract based on one performance pre-season. Not convinced.
Ellington - not sure why he's being played when were selling him, perhaps no one else available, constantly frustrating, built like regis, runs like regis, playing like a two left-footed clumsy sunday morning footballer. At one point he got the ball in front of the D, shimmy'd left, shimmy'd right, dropped a shoulder, meanwhile the posh defender gently took the ball away from his feet and ran in the other direction before Elly had even touched it. There's a great footballer awaiting to burst out of his body however it seems for a long time now that Ellingtons football brain and body have been communicating with 2 paper cups and a length of string. Did well for the goal i spose but you cant help but feel its a lost cause when the ball arrives at his, so often, confused feet.
Beattie - oh dear. Really not feeling it here. Didn't think much of his performance at Sheffield, thought even less tonight. Another in the mould of ellington. Clumsy. Is scottish football really that poor?
MacDonald - nice orange boots but little else to show for his 12 mins on the pitch.
Oh, and if your reading, hello to the fella we followed back to Great Yarmouth who had an Albion regalia in his back window.
Bring on Norwich away please.
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