Sixer’s Soapbox: costly errors as West Brom boing boing back to the Black Country

Jake says: 'I must get a picture of Sixer looking miserable.'

Malcolm Dawson writes….: There are times when I question the logic of spending good money going to football. Yes there are times when the team puts in a performance that lifts the heart, when a close game or a dramatic fightback creates a tension that gets the pulse racing, when a back to the wall performance, defying the odds, creates a sense of relief that brings a satisfaction all of its own. But it seems that more often than not I feel like I did on Saturday. After a half an hour or so I had that familiar feeling of resignation that we would get nothing from the game and what may have been a disappointing couple of hours became excruciating as the whining bloke behind me, kept up a constant two word analysis of the team’s performance. On my way back to the car I bumped into a couple of friends, North East born but living in Staffordshire, who had been to see Show of Hands at the Sage on Friday and were stopping off at Derby on the way home to catch a Bellowhead concert. Folk music may not be your cup of tea but you know what you are getting for your pennies. Still I’ll be back for QPR as will Pete Sixsmith. Here’s what he has to say about the Baggies….

Another Saturday, another defeat,
another lost weekend as Sunderland once again shot themselves in the foot with a performance that, like the mythical curate’s egg, was good in parts and pretty awful in others.

Pre-match discussion accepted that it would be a difficult game against a well organised team who are very much in form. But there was a feeling that we had maybe turned the corner in SW6 last weekend and that the Baggies did not travel well.

It looked as if the team might actually convince some of the increasing number of doubters who had willingly bought into the O’Neill appointment 11 months ago, but who were beginning to question the direction in which we were heading.

It started well. The forwards looked lively, with Sessegnon looking much more like Messi and Pele than Lemon and Cunnington. He forced the erratic Myhill into two saves which had us scoffing at the inadequacies of the Throstles’ keeper and being rather smug about the superiority of Mignolet at the other end. It was much more like the Sess we saw and admired last season.

Fletcher led the line well and Larsson, looking comfortable on the right, put in some good crosses and worked energetically. The Baggies were pushed back and struggled to get into the game.

Unfortunately, there is always one player who doesn’t really buy into the team ethic and once again it was Adam Johnson. He gave the ball away in midfield, it went to Zoltan Gera who was allowed space and he picked his spot with a shot that some felt Mignolet should have done better with.

If Simon might have saved that one, the second goal, a minute before half time was an absolute catastrophe. Mignolet has been the epitome of reliability this season and has won us a number of points with the high levels of competence he has shown.

Unfortunately, when a keeper drops a clanger it is often game changing. This one was. At one down, we had every chance of getting at them in the second half. At two down we didn’t. As the ball wriggled away from Mignolet and Long poked it over the line, we had made our life very, very difficult.

Colin Randall disguised as Monsieur Salut, by Matt

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The manager
came out fighting. Cattermole had already limped off and O’Shea did not reappear after the interval. Instead of Kilgallon coming off the bench, he went one short at the back and shoved McClean on, in the hope that he could inspire us, just as he had done 11 months ago.

He didn’t, turning in another performance which made many of us think of the words “one season wonder” and “busted flush”. But we kept on at Albion and when we had a stroke of good fortune as Gardner’s free kick hit the nether regions of a Baggies defender and flew into the net, hopes were high.

Enter that well known comedy trio of Johnson, Ridgewell and Dean. Johnson did everything right in tracking back with Ridgewell to make sure that he did not get a cross in. Then, at the vital moment, he slid in at him, Ridgewell dived over his awkward challenge and Dean awarded a penalty.

He had booked Long for simulation in the first half and presumably thought that Albion would have learned their lesson. But you have to be certain to give a penalty at such a crucial stage in the game and I don’t think he was. Not a great decision and I said so, loudly, at the time.

That took us out of the game. Sess’s goal made the score look a little tidier and we might have equalised when Cuellar’s header saw the only decent bit of goalkeeping from Myhill. Their fourth goal was academic.

We played well in parts against a disciplined and assured side that took advantage of our lack of confidence in certain areas. But the errors that we made left us with a very difficult task and we were not up to it. Consequently, instead of rising up the table, as we had hoped, we sank back into the nether regions, a place that we seem destined to occupy for the next few centuries.

Rumours circulated that MON had offered his resignation after the game but a change in manager is not what we need at the moment. We scored two goals at home for the first time since March and we looked a better side going forward than at any other stage this season.

But, in this league, errors are punished and we made three of them. We cannot/must not repeat this on Tuesday night. The eyes of the media will be on the SoL as Good Ol’ ‘Arry rolls into town with a collection of expensively assembled misfits. It is to be hoped that he fails to have the galvanising effect on Rangers that O’Neill had on us last season, or Mark Hughes could be back in a job quicker than he might have thought.

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12 thoughts on “Sixer’s Soapbox: costly errors as West Brom boing boing back to the Black Country”

  1. The players we have at present are not shirking their responsibilities and not trying etc.

    There have been some useless articles who quite frankly have deserved being booed and publically castigated for their efforts (or more specifically the lack of, over the years), and in deserved cases booing them could hardly have made the indolent sods any less useless than they already were. None of the current crop of players fall into that category thank goodness. I hope that the supporters get behind the team and that the team can lift the supporters. H’way the lads!

  2. A mixed bag this game indeed.We did look good in parts and bad in parts.WBA are a very good team and it is no shame to lose to a team playing nice tidy football.They were comfortable winners.I had a feeling at 0-2 down the game would finish 0-3 or even 0-4, so outplayed we were at the time.Losing Catts was a major blow and Mignolet’s mistake really did put the game beyond us…..yet we still came within a whisker of equalising right at the end.

    So some progress and not be be too downhearted.Plenty still to play for and 2 major home games coming up before a rather horrendous December fixture list.

    This was in no way a Bruce/Wigan style home defeat so let us knock this talk of managerial resignations aside.

  3. I thought we were looking good and putting pressure on WBA up until their goal.
    We really need to win the QPR game now. Pressure is on. And QPR in their last game v Man U didn’t look that bad. With Harry taking over I think we’ll see a more invigourated QPR (sadly).
    Good news is that Sess and AJ look like they are improving a lot and getting on the scoresheet.
    I don’t think McClean looked like he was going to do anything when he came on.

    Sorry to nag on about this but I’d like to see the pacey Rose on left wing and Colback at LB. I’d like to see Vaughn replace Colback in MF and pick up a goal or two. When he’s on his game he’s a good distributer of the ball.

  4. Booing left sided players has been an unwelcome feature of all my time in supporting SAFC. Clock Stand Paddock targets abound , Roy Greenwood , Armstrong, Cullon, Pascoe et al. Some weren’t any good but slating them doesn’t help

  5. While the result, obviously, is frustrating and incredibly hard to take; I did find it odd the way people were booing the team and complaining on the way out that it was ‘rubbish’. It was hardly rubbish: rubbish was Terry Butcher, Mick Buxton and Malcolm Crosby (in the league). This was a team that created more chances than a team 4th in the league; a team that gave 100% in attempting to get back into the game and a manager that altered the team and formation to put more pressure onto the WBA defence and keeper.
    Yes, it was disappointing that we lost the game, but there is a certain irony that as we play better we are picking up less points. We will come good.
    My fingers are crossed and I carry a piece of wood to touch at all times.

  6. I can’t ever remember a footballer who played better after they’ve been barracked. It’s tough at the moment (as per usual) and although it might be hard it’s always counterproductive to single out individual players.Most footballing autobiographies will confirm that the crowd getting on to a player always has a negative effect.Keep your powder dry.

  7. The thing that worries me most following Saturday is the number of idiots who think that booing the team and, in particular Adam Johnson, will improve their performance. Either that or that their right to express their opinion is more important than everyone else’s right to enjoy their team trying hard and earning points. Johnson had a good game at Fulham and went a long way to winning that game. He also started Saturday brightly but 1 mistake in giving the ball away and everyone was on his back. If the keeper had saved the shot, as he really should have done, then Johnson’s error would not have mattered, yet immediately idiots are booing him. Mignolet has been great this season but how many sides in the league are going to come back from the keeper giving 2 away. The fact that we very nearly did and were basically a dodgy penalty or a close offside from a great recovery should, at least in hindsight, be positive. If sections of the crowd start the game on Johnson’s back then we are stuffed. Booing players during a game is a self-fulfilling activity and I, for one, want nothing to do with fans that do it. We all need to stop it at source by shouting down the idiots, starting on Tuesday.

    • Couldn’t agree more Dave. Johnson is the current scapegoat, because of his big price tag and the expectation that comes with it. He is the new Kilbane.

      I have never booed any player or manager during or after a match and have no intention of ever doing so. When we are there I believe we have to get behind the whole team.

      We can debate the inadequacies of the team, individuals within it, the board, the management, the coaching staff, the bloke who decides when to water the pitch and that is our right, but negativity within the ground will harm, not help the cause.

      Positive shouts and cheers won’t hurt and may inspire the lads on the pitch to better things. Mind you an early goal on Tuesday will improve that prospect.

  8. Funny how timing affects one’s mood when following SAFC. If the last two results had been reversed ie a 4-2 loss followed by a 3-1 win, my mood would be brighter…even though the points tally would be the same. That said we’re scoring goals and looking brighter in attack. Johnson’s assist reminded me of the Docherty adage ie he trapped the ball further than I can kick it. Does it count as an assist in the Opta stats? The Baggies were going down easily but we need to be smarter. Johnson tackled like a winger, however it was O’Shea who had me watching through my fingers with every tackle round the box. Larsson is a fine crosser of the ball….he should however have more attempts on goal from open play. A curate’s egg however a solid win against QPR will make things look better and Heaven forbid if we win our game in hand the table may look better. Apropos MON leaving this is a non-starter for me. We MUST stand by him. Our turnover of managers has been a concern. OK if Arsene fancied a few years of bracing North Sea wind…otherwise we have a decent manager who needs time. We’re all aware of the horrors of the drop. Who said following Safc was meant to be easy. To paraphrase Dune, the Lord created Safc to test the faithful. Keep the faith

    • Larrson is, actually, the one that is worrying me more than most.

      Undoubtedly, the work rate is there but the quality of his set pieces seems to be way off the standard of last season.

      Maybe, he needs to go back to his former ritual of checking his laces before taking the kicks which, last season, he used to do without fail but has, seemingly, been abandoned this.

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