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ICF's WBA Match Report

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After missing a couple of away games it felt like ages since I''d seen city play so it was a relief to be able to get to the Hawthorns where the day was alternating between sunshine and showers, the rain seemed to go when the game started. The centre of Birmingham is buzzing nowadays but WestBromwich seems to have missed out so far, a depressing part of the midlands.

Our team : Ruddy, Whittaker, Basso, Turner, Olsson. Midfield BJ Fer Howson, Redmond with Hooper and Elmander up front.

So a minutes applause for Nelson Mandela was well observed and down to business.

The game opened with some good city possession then WBA won a couple of corners on their right. An open game with neither side really threatening.

Then Redmond came into midfield from the right wing and passed across to Fer who played Hooper into the box and he drilled it home. Not since we had Bellamy have I felt the same confidence a striker would finish from that sort of position.

WBA came back with more corners on their right then we had a good period of possession with Hooper and Elmander combining well. That was the theme fro the rest of the half broken up by one through ball by WBA which led to a near post shot that Ruddy did well to save and one corner that bounced harmlessly inside the 6 yard box - keepers ball shirley?

So safely to half time with a lead away from home.

The second half WBA were all over us from the start ending in a bad scramble before Ruddy had it.

Then we broke down their end and had a free kick. And so it went on for the rest of the half - WBA with plenty of possession and us playing on the counter. As the half wore on Ruddy was back to his commanding best at dealing with crosses. For all the crosses they out in , I can''t remember one solid header on goal? With Ruddy and Turner especially good. On the ground Ruddy had to make a few saves but aside from one superb dive to his right they were pretty straightforward. Also WBA had one great chance when their striker shot from the centre of the penalty box but he put it just wide.

I should mention BJ was back to his best, Howson also superb and Fer too.

Ruddy was booked by Clatt with about 20 mins to go when he decided to move a goal kick to the other side and Clatt made a few of his usual eccentric decisions but happily nothing that affected the game.

At the far end we were getting plenty of chances on the break with Redmond especially giving his fullback a torrid time but not quite able to link up with Hooper for the killer second goal, also one excellent move saw Hooper tee up Howson for one of his trademark shots from the edge of the box but it was just over,

I can rarely remember a more scintillating and end to end game of football. As time wore on we were dropping deeper and Hughton switched to 451 with Elmander on the left, soon after he brought on Murphy to replace him and I thought we looked better with a natural wide player there and the change in formation tightened things up a bit.

There was still the odd chance for WBA which had our hearts pounding but as the clock ticked down to 90 minutes we put together another sweeping move with the ball going out to Murphy on the left (I think it was Josh tho he and Redmond were swapping wings) and he laid on a great ball to Leroy who slotted it away to the goalies right, a mirror image of his killer goal against WH and a good habit of his to give us a 2 goal cushion. And that was that, Becchio came on for Hooper, the home fans were streaming away and WBA had lost heart. Us away fans, needless to say, were jubilant.

So a superb second away win - as many as we had in the whole of last season. And one might call the manner of the win a bit "Lambert-esque".

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