Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Valiant struggle at The Hawthorns

Heavy rain greeted the Addickted at The Hawthorns producing a greasy surface, writes Erith's Paul May. Alan Pardew named the same starting team as the one which beat Blackpool 4-1 at The Valley on Saturday in front of a crowd of 12,691.

Portuguese centre back and charm merchant Pele put in a rather nasty challenge on McLeod. Charlton won the first corner after four minutes after taking advantage of a Dean Kiely clearance that was picked up by Sam. The Baggies got a free kick after Bougherra put his header in. Youga looked lively in the opening period.

McLeod made an attempt but it looped over the angle of post and crossbar, Varney having got himself into an offside position. Zheng Zhi was brought down by Miller, receiving a rather different reception from Downing Street, and the Addicks were awarded a free kick just inside the opposition half. When Charlton should have got a corner, the Baggies were given a free kick for a supposed foul by McLeod.

Charlton continued to make most of the running, although a fussy referee kept breaking up play. But then the Baggies got a throw in a dangerous position and they scored from their first attack through Bednar on 14 minutes, Ambrose ensuring that he was not offside. Charlton should have stopped the cross coming into the far post.

Gera brought Youga down and received a yellow card. The Baggies got a free kick 30 yards out, leading to a corner for them. It was headed away and Zheng Zhi eventually managed to clear.

A shot by McLeod was deflected over the bar to give the Addicks a corner. Ambrose's effort went wide. Varney turned provider for McLeod with an excellent header, but McLeod's effort went straight at Dean Kiely.

Miller forged forward and the Baggies produced some pressure, but the offside flag went up against them. McLeod was one on one with Dean Kiely in an excellent opportunity, but he wasn't able to control the ball and Deano was able to smother it.

Charlton forged forward, McLeod failed to see Varney running at speed and Mouto2 was offside. A really good breakaway was wasted. Weaver had to punch the ball away to clear his lines.

Miller put in a left footed shot from the edge of the D but it went wide for a goal kick. The Baggies were getting a lot of possession. McCarthy had to concede a throw in near the corner flag.

Charlton were in danger, with Bednar threatening again, but McCarthy defended well at the expense of a corner. The corner was taken short and headed away and dropped on the edge of the penalty area and a Morrison drive hit the edge of the woodwork with five minutes to go.

Sam got a yellow card and the free kick created more danger for Charton, the free header just arcing right of the upright. One minute of time was added on as the rain poured down. McLeod pinched the ball off Pele some forty yards from goal. He burst through and turned provider for Varney, but with the goal gaping from eight yards out he put it over the bar. What a half of missed chances!

Half time: Baggies 1, Addicks 0

Mouto2 was pulled back by Teixeira to give Charlton a free kick. The Addicks built an attack, but it ended in a Baggies free kick. Charlton started brightly and a free kick led to a Charlton corner on the 50th minute. Holland's effort was blocked and the Baggies broke away, Zheng Zhi was in position but made an error, Teixeira set up Morrison went for goal and a desperate drive by Weaver was unable to stop the Baggies making it 2-0. This was gut wrenching after a bright start to the half. Big Chris started to warm up.

Gera put in a shot but Weaver made the save. McLeod tried to latch on to a forward ball, he was brought down and fouled, the Addicks got a throw in but not a free kick. Youga covered well as the Baggies came forward and won the ball. Ambrose put a curved pass towards the far post, but no one was there.

Charlton played fluently and won a corner which was taken short. West Brom eventually managed to break again, Charlton won the ball back, but there was an offside decision against McLeod as he forged forward.

Chris Iwelumo came on for the Addicks and McLeod went off. With a move starting from a free kick, there was confusion in the Baggies defence, Iwelumo forced Kiely to punch it into the path of Ambrose who scored to make it 2-1 on 64 minutes. Gera shaved the crossbar as he tried to respond.

Youga did well in defence to ensure that the Baggies could not trouble Weaver. Luke Varney turned provider for Lloyd Sam who won a corner for the Addicks, but it led to a Baggies goal kick.

A mistake by Kiely put the Baggies under heavy pressure, but eventually they were somehow able to clear. Ambrose made way for Thomas who had his gloves on. A free kick created an opportunity for the Baggies, but Iwelumo cleared and then Bougherra got it away. The Baggies came forward again, but Youga got hold of the ball.

West Brom made two substitutions with Gera and Teixeira coming off. Sam put in a drive that was just wide with fifteen minutes left. Thomas and Youga combined well, but the move ended in a Baggies free kick.

Iwelumo was bundled over by Greening and the Addicks got a free kick three yards outside the penalty area, but the effort by Thomas was headed away. The referee awarded a free kick against Youga on the edge of the penalty area. It was a harsh decision. Brunt's effort took a deflection off a well organised wall at the expense of the corner.

Chris Dickson came on to replace Matt Holland with less than eight minutes to go. West Brom took off Miller and brought on MacDonald. A free kick was awarded for a foul on Luke Varney after the referee tried to play advantage. Youga dealt with a Baggies attack. MacDonald missed a chance with a free header.

The Baggies started to stream out confident that they had won, but Charlton tried for one of their late goals in some frantic play. Sam won a throw in near the corner flag. On the stroke of 90 minutes Charlton equalised with Chris Dickson getting the final touch to score his first goal for the Addicks after a cross by Zheng Zhi helped on by Lloyd Sam.

With three minutes added on, Charlton kept up the pressure, but the Baggies also applied pressure. The whistle blew for extra time in the heavy rain. Youga had been outstanding.

Full time: Baggies 2, Addicks 2

Portuguese poser Pele gave the ball away to Lloyd Sam, allowing Charlton to keep the pressure on. Both teams were going all out for what could be a decisive goal. West Brom got a corner kick, but McCarthy dealt well with an excellent delivery by danger man Brunt.

Dickson won a corner for Charlton, the Baggies back line again looking uncertain. The corner by Thomas was headed away, it was played back in, but the Baggies were awarded a free kick. Bednar curled it towards MacDonald, but Weaver made a superb save at the expense of a corner. Bougherra needed some treatment for cramp. The corner was cleared.

West Brom forged forward but McCarthy defended well at the expense of a Baggies corner. Zheng Zhi was able to clear. Chris Dickson seemed to be struggling as the result of a boot with the studs showing from Greening.

At the end of the first period of extra time it was still 2-2. Charlton started to ask the Baggies a few questions. Dickson hit the side netting as Kiely came off his line. Dickson was pushed over and the referee awarded a free kick, but the effort by Thomas was cleared.

Thomas dribbled into the penalty area. Dickson sliced his shot and the Baggies went on the attack, but Bougherra was able to put the ball out for a throw in. Bougherra got in the way of a Baggies drive. West Brom were starting to tire and the Addicks looked dangerous in the counter attack.

Dickson got away from Pele, but the ball bounced off Kiely. Weaver punched clear as the Baggies responded. Bougherra blocked a cross.

Charlton had done well to fight back from 2-0 down and, for all the criticisms that are made of him, Iwelumo made a difference, putting the two big central defenders under pressure.


Varney took the first penalty in front of the stand shared by Addicks and Baggies. It was a powerful shot but he put it over the crossbar. Brunt put it past Weaver to make it 1-0 to the Baggies. Then it was the turn of Chris Dickson who made it 1-1 with a good penalty under conditions of pressure. Baggies captain Greening stepped up and Weaver made the save to keep it at 1-1. Thomas was next in line and made it 2-1, sidefooting it into the bottom corner, even though Kiely went the right way. Weaver could not save off Corran and it was 2-2. Zheng Zhi was next, he looked more nervous than waiting for Gordon Brown at Downing Street, Dean Kiely saved to his right, giving the Baggies the advantage. Morrison drilled it into the top corner of the net to make it 3-2 to the Baggies. Bougherra had to take the crucial penalty and he rolled it into the back of the net. 3-3. Bednar put it past Weaver and West Brom won 4-3 on penalties and go on to face Peterborough. It was a great fight by Charlton, what a way to go out.


Confidential Rick said...

Thanks Wyn, nice report. It's like I was there !

Anonymous said...

Thats the quickest posting I've seen yet.