The Bandwagon Rolls On
Without wishing to put a hex on tonight’s result, it looks like it’s when rather than if for Newcastle and West Brom at the top of the table. With nine points and a commodious goal difference separating the Albion and Forest, it seems that it’ll be as you are for the rest of the season unless the Reds can recapture the form that briefly made it a three horse race.
Even then, Forest would have to rely on a serious downturn in fortune for either of the top two, and I don’t see that happening. Newcastle show no sign whatsoever of holding up and their impending promotion can’t come soon enough for most of us. Meanwhile, if West Brom’s composed performance at Reading on Saturday is anything to do by, then they should be unassailable. Although the Black Country men went a goal down after just 6 minutes following a breakneck sprint from Jobi McAnuff, the Baggies never really looked perturbed and patiently knocked away at the Royals throughout.
Indeed, whereas most Championship sides would have crumbled after conceding so early against a revitalised Reading side, the Baggies were always in the game and didn’t let the deficit disrupt the fluidity of their attacking verve. Granted Jerome Thomas was bullied out of the game via a series of kicks and pulls, but Graham Dorrans, the snip of the century, kept things ticking over nicely in the supporting striker role. Touted as a future Scotland star, the Glaswegian, assisted ably by Ben Watson and a recuperating James Morrison, swaggered his way through the game and was always the main threat behind the disappointing lone striker Chris Wood and his equally ineffective replacement Ishmael Miller.
Though Reading had two or three chances to sew up a win, most notably through one-time Liverpool target Simon Church, Albion benefited from outlets in the form of Dorrans, Thomas or Stephen Reid at right wing back and it was no real surprise when they clinched the draw after a thundering rebound from centre half Gabriel Tamas. For an injury-hit team missing such talents as Gonzalo Jara, Marek Cech and Chris Brunt, this comeback was quite impressive and the Baggies’ next six fixtures indicate that, like the Magpies, they too will be having a second crack at Premiership survival in three years.