West Brom stopped the rot of three defeats on the trot but only managed one point after ex-dingle Keith Andrews scored in the last minute to prevent the stripes taking the full share of the spoils.
Mowbray rewarded Miller for his fine goal in the week against Newcastle by paring him with Roman Bednar up front, with Chris Brunt the man making way. The defence was unchanged despite the calamitous errors that have marked the last few matches – and bang on cue, just 13 minutes into the game Ryan Donk engaged in the most blatant shirt-pulling on former Albion striker Jason Roberts inside the box, from which Benni McCarthy gave Carson no chance and handing an early lead on a plate to Blackburn.
The young Dutch defender had given an equally silly penalty away after only 8 minutes of the midweek game, and will have to be careful not to be awarded the title, and small extension of his name, Donkey after this latest error. Whilst very few referees would award a penalty for the tug, it was a foul, clearly against the rules and right in front of Mike Jones, who was refereeing his first Premiership game.
McCarthy and the ref were at the centre of the next point of interest in the game; though this time, minutes after a rash challenge on Greening which had earned him a booking, he jumped for a long ball only just inside the West Brom half, and as the ball went away from him he stuck a high arm out to control it – second yellow card, and Blackburn down to ten men. Again the referee was correctly applying the law, but he came in for huge criticism from both managers, fans and pundits for doing so.
Blackburn held on for the rest of the half but Albion began to utilise their one man advantage, and Mowbray spared Donk any more blushes by bringing the previously derided Hoefkens in for him at half time. The Baggies started the second half explosively, with Miller cracking an effort off the upright and Ryan Nelson cannoning an attempted clearance off the bar. Any worries that it wasn`t going to be one of those day were soon expunged however, the lively Roman Bednar in a great position to receive a pass from Miller just inside the box, and keeping his head under pressure to slot the ball inside the right post for the equaliser.
West Brom were galvanised by the goal, and continued to produce the sweeping football, mounting a series of fluid attacks against the deflated and numerically disadvantaged visitors. The dominance soon paid further dividends, this time Miller fully justifying his inclusion when he latched onto a excellent pass from Jonathan Greening, and deftly slotted the ball into the far corner from outside the box on his favoured left foot. The goal was similar in its development to the beautiful effort that Miller scored mid-week; capping a lovely passing move and deservedly giving the stripes the lead.
The Baggies looked well set for the victory and all three points, but with one minute left on the clock, former Wolves man and Ince`s captain at MK Dons picked up the ball 30 yards out, and as he approached goal with Robinson standing off drilled a shot past the helpless Carson to send Rovers back to the northwest with a point, and denying Mowbrays men a much-needed victory.
More defensive howlers were the order of the day, and Donk definitely needs a rest after two ludicrous errors in four days. Hopefully Meite will be fit next weekend, when the Albion face Liverpool before our next home game against Chelsea a week later. That`ll be nice and easy then. Miller looks a different player from the confidence shorn striker who missed a haltful earlier in the season, his goal at Newcastle will hopefully now be the spur to provide more goals of the quality he scored today.
The referee dominated the discourse but despite his inexperience the decisions he made were correct. Despite the fact both would go unpunished on more occasions than not is a fault that lies with the other officials and not this one, as there is no ‘interpretation` of the laws – they are quite clear.
Scott Carson 8
Continuing class. Could do nothing with either goal, and though he wasn’t particularly tested after McCarthy`s dismissal dealt with everything calmly.
Gianni Zuiverloon 6
Not the player of the early season – his inexperience is showing although today was a marked improvement on his recent outings.
Ryan Donk 3
Oh dear, not a good day in the office Ryan. Cut out the silly errors and he’s got a future, but has been severely punished twice in a week for very naïve play, and needs to observe the game before he goes back in – the Premiership is a very tough learning ground.
Jonas Olsson 7
Very assured, continuing to look like a snip at 800K. Cuts a very imposing figure, and the prospect of him partnering Meite restores some of my faith in our defence.
Paul Robinson 6
Generally solid, though crucially was well out of position in the dying minutes – allowing Andrews the space to score.
Robert Koren 7
A steady performance, and a player who can not be faulted for effort. Sometimes looks like he may not have the ability to do the business but surviving so far.
Jonathan Greening 8
Mastered the midfield when we went a man up, was at the heart of our attacking play and marshalled the boys well throughout.
James Morrison 7
Like Bob Kozzler, absolutely tremendous work ethic, covers a huge amount of ground and always demands the ball. I think Morrison could become a real gem in time.
Borja Valero 7
Superb range of passing, still adapting to the English game a completely undeserving of the stick he gets from some groups of fans.
Ishmael Miller 9
Delighted by Ish’s performance today. Earned the right to start again and justified his inclusion from the off. Like much of our sqaud is very short of experience, but goals like this one proves could turn into the solution to our striking ‘crisis’.
Roman Bednar 8
Always in the right places, deserved his goal today and showed signs of forming a partnership with Miller that may force Mowbray to abandon his 4-5-1.
Carl Hoefkens 6
A steadying influence at the back, which was relatively untested during his time on the pitch in the second half.
Chris Brunt 6
Limited impact, replacing Morrison with 20 minutes left.
Fresh legs up front for the last ten. The jury is still out as he has not had enough starts or anything resembling a run in to the team. Like Valero, fan criticism is quite unjust.
West Brom (4-4-2)
Carson, Zuiverloon, Donk (Hoefkens 46), Olsson, Robinson, Koren, Greening, Morrison (Brunt 69), Borja Valero, Bednar, Miller (Moore 80).
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Cech, Kim, Pele
Robinson, Simpson (Kerimoglu 46), Samba, Nelsen, Olsson (Pedersen 62), Emerton (Khizanishvili 77), Andrews, Grella, Warnock, McCarthy, Roberts.
Subs Not Used: Brown, Villanueva, Fowler, Derbyshire
Mike Jones (Cheshire)