In Horsfield, Hughes and especially the centre back Moore they have players who can shirt pull, use their elbows and generally use most illegal means to get by and today they had a referee who was too weak to put a stop to it.
All the goals came in the second half with Alan Lee getting an equaliser for City with 10 mins to go. Albion had gone in front when Clement headed home a Koumas free kick. Lee got a slight touch to a Kav free kick and looked to have earned a point. There was ultimate disappointment though as Lee Hughes poked home an 85th minute winner. He even had the cheek to do the ayatollah as his celebration.
Cardiff started brightly and Earnie forced a save from Murphy in the first minute. Earnie had another chance minutes later.
Murphy had to make some smart saves. Margetson nearly found himself on the next edition of “Own goals and gaffs” when he made a real hash of a backpass which bobbled off his foot and behind him for a corner.
I would say that for the first 30 mins City had the upper hand. The awful referee gave four decisions to WBA when the ball clearly came off the Albion players.
Cardiff could not keep up the pace they had started with and Albion showed why they are near the top of the table with direct attacking football at pace.
City went behind when a Koumas free kick was met by Clement who enjoyed a free header to make it 1 – 0. There was a feeling that Albion might go on and subject us to a heavy defeat but credit to City who made a real game of it by giving it a go.
The superb Paul Parry found plenty of space out wide and was unlucky not to score when faced with an open goal 25 yards out at a difficult angle, his drive inches wide. Parry at times was too quick for the City players, he was looking to cross when the attackers were still pushing forward.
Kavanagh had another great game in midfield and there was some good movement between him and Boland. Kav though picked up his 9th yellow of the season and along with Richard Langley is one yellow away from a 2 game ban.
I have two main areas of criticism.
1. Showboating and slackness in defence. Gabbidon was trying to impress his old team by being too cocky while City found it hard to give the ball a whack out of defence. We could have been severely punished with Horsfield and Hughes bearing downing at every opportunity.
2. The inability to defend crosses. Clement had a free header to score Albion’s opener and their winner which was poked home by Hughes came from City not able to stop another cross when it came into the box.
I wasn’t totally happy with our efforts down the right hand side with Weston and Langley below par.
On the positive side we never game up and will feel hard done by when an Earnie goal was ruled offside. The ball came to him via a deflection off a WBA player. That would have put us 2 – 1 up.
There was a superb atmosphere from a packed Hawthorns, both sets of fans at times making a fine noise. The crowd was over 25,000.
The hour it took to get out of the car park didn’t help the mood after the defeat but at least the drive home wasn’t so far.
Cardiff need to toughen up and inject some more directness into their play. We nearly gave them a shock and I can see WBA back in the Premiership next season. Don’t forget they were in the Premiership last season and we were Div 2, based on that then we did well to get close to them. Some sharpening up and better defending (again a criticism) and we can still have a say in who goes where at the end of the season.
I think we could do with a big no nonsense centre half to give us the steel we need at the back. We have ball players and not brawlers who get the ball away first and ask questions later.
4 goals conceded in the last two games and all from crosses into the box. No 1 priority to work on this week.
Time is coming for Alan Lee to start a game as well and Lennie, don’t even think of bringing Robbo in for Parry, John will have to play on the right hand side and maybe give Langley a break.