West Bromwich Albion ‘got out of jail’ is a perfect way to sum up the game against Black Country rivals Wolves.
This was a game West Brom should have won and a win would have put them level on points with Aston Villa and Birmingham City. But that’s football.
For many Albion fans, the draw against Wolves will have felt like a win whereas against West Ham the draw will have been like a defeat.
How vital could Carlos Vela’s goal and the result against Wolves be come the end of the season? Only time will tell.
In any derby you know exactly what to expect, and the Black Country derby was no different. Flying tackles, high drama, misses what more could you ask for.
West Brom v Wolves is certainly one of the fiercest derbies in British football and the game itself certainly lived up to expectations.
In the first half, Mick McCarthy’s side certainly did have the lion’s share of the possession but apart from the goal, they did not create any clear cut chances.
Albion did force Hennessey into a couple of saves and there were times where the Wolves keeper did flap at corners and crosses.
But it was Wolves who drew first blood in the derby and Jamie O’Hara could not have hit the ball any sweeter for the goal.
With the Baggies expecting the ball from the free-kick to come into the area, it was played short and O’Hara made no mistake with a superb curling effort from 25 yards. It was no more than Wolves deserved and they went into half-time 1-0 up.
Even though Albion did create one or two chances, they never got going in the first half and it was no surprise they conceded from a set piece yet again.
It could have been a whole lot worse for West Brom had Matt Jarvis scored early in the second half.
Jarvis was through one on one with Boaz Myhill after Gabriel Tamas misjudged the flight of the ball and failed to clear the ball away.
However the former Gillingham winger missed the chance to double Wolves’ lead and his effort went wide of the post.
From there on, it was all Albion and The Baggies had several chances to equalise. A Jonas Olsson header was cleared off the line by Jarvis and Paul Scharner might have done better with an effort from just outside the 18-yard box after no Wolves player closed him down.
Marc-Antoine Fortune missed a guilt edged chance to level the match and he is without doubt lacking in confidence. To be honest, I cannot see what Fortune brings to the side and Albion would be better off starting with Vela upfront alongside Peter Odemwingie in a 4-4-2.
4-5-1 does suit Albion better with Odemwingie playing the lone role up front. Having that extra man in midfield may have led to Wolves dominating the first half.
Hodgson made positive substitutions in the second half by bringing on Carlos Vela and James Morrison which was great to see. Just hope this is a sign of things to come.
West Brom’s perseverance did pay off when on-loan Arsenal striker Vela pounced on a loose ball to equalise for The Baggies. This result may well rejuvenate Albion’s season but there is still a long way to go and anything can happen.
Albion in my view were much better defensively but there were still some mistakes that were made which will need to be addressed. If West Brom are to get anything from the game against Stoke, then they will need to certainly practice set pieces.
With John Carew, Kenwyne Jones and Rory Delap’s throw-ins to contend with, Albion will need to be at their very best to keep The Potters at bay.
This is the side I would play against Stoke:
Shorey Tamas Olsson S. Reid
Brunt Dorrans Tchoyi (Simply for his height)
Subs: Carson, Jara, Vela, Cox, Fortune, Morrison, Thomas
If West Brom do get something from the Britannia, then I’m sure most Baggies fans will consider that as a bonus. Albion have not had a great record against Stoke in recent times.
Let’s get behind the players and Keep The Faith Albion fans!