The game is, as the cliché instructs, all about results and, more than that, about scorelines. On the face of it, it looks as through Albion took a drubbing at Goodison and certainly the Toffees were the side deserving of their three points on the day. But look a little beyond the three goal difference and you’ll find a game that was much closer than 3-0 suggests and a performance that was far sparkier than the one against Palace a week before.
In the end, the game was settled in the way it so often is at the top of the Premier League, by world class ability, by Barkley, homegrown at Goodison, and by Lukaku, the kind of towering talent that cost Everton the fists full of fivers that we couldn’t muster four years ago. While defeat on Merseyside was a bitter pill to swallow, that medicine was instructive when it comes to the strides we still have to make to finally, and consistently, bridge the gap at the very peak of the game.
It’s those moments that transform games as well as the predator’s instinct to sense when to go in for the kill and, more important, to make it happen. That was how Everton pounced in the few minutes up to half-time, taking away from us a game that, had it been 0-0 at the break, might well have been very different, for the natives were certainly becoming restless at their inability to break down a resolute Albion side.
For much of that half, the Throstles had implemented a gameplan that involved keeping the Toffees in front of us, giving them no opportunity to get in behind us and exploit the pace, power and finishing expertise that they have at the top end of the pitch.
The first time they managed to do that was some 16 minutes in, courtesy of a beautifully threaded pass from Barry into Lukaku who dragged his shot across the face of the goal but just wide of the far post.
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The Football League resumed just as this season will end, with the Throstles winging their way to Swansea, albeit that back on August 31st 1946, Swansea City were then still just a Town, playing their football on the Vetch Field rather than the Liberty Stadium.
Middlesbrough v Albion
We’ve been here before – notably at Hull and Sunderland – but the conundrum is, was this a point won or two spilled.
Chairman - John Williams
Things get taken for granted very quickly in football, such that very often, credit doesn’t get dished out when it’s due.
Jonny Evans - the way he plays . . .
The transfer market. It’s a difficult beast to handle, one fraught with danger, however good your research, however smartly you approach it. There’s always another club looking to steal a player from under your nose, or the player who looks a sure fire winner only to fail once a move is made. You can bring ten new faces in and watch them queue up to flop, or place your eggs in a solitary basket and still be crossing your fingers as the contract is inked.
albion v derby county
this was a 90 minutes that did have all the hallmarks of a classic fa cup tie but unfortunately those hallmarks tend to include the big club losing out to the smaller one after an impassioned rearguard action, helped by a healthy dose of (mis) fortune. on that score, this was the kind of game that has given the fa cup its huge reputation both in this country and around the world, but to be honest, we’d have much preferred a quiet, uneventful afternoon where, in the finish, the form book was upheld.
‘We were pleased that the supporters at least had something to take home with them after following us in such good numbers in terrible conditions’
Albion v Stoke City
Given the demise of alternative football clubs in the locality, Stoke has become our de facto derby game these days and did this one ever live up to that kind of billing, a feisty, feverish, blood and guts encounter that included home heroes, pantomime villains and a fairytale ending where we all lived happily ever after. Or at least the ones who count did – us.
Albion v Sunderland
It’s a mark of Albion’s growing confidence, maturity and, overall, quality that without ever really getting close to our best form, and coming out of the shadow of consecutive defeats, this win over Sunderland was every bit as routine for us as Manchester United’s was for them when they were at The Hawthorns before Christmas.
‘We have given ourselves a chance of having our best season in the Premier League era, and we really want to capitalise on that opportunity over these next three months’
Albion V Crystal Palace
The problem with getting used to the finer things in life is that if, on occasion, you are deprived of them, it stings all the more. And that’s exactly what happened against Palace for, after an amazing run of seven home wins in eight Premier League games at The Hawthorns, a run where we’ve been scoring goals and creating chances aplenty, this was one of those afternoons where we could have played until Sunday and still not scored.
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