West Bromwich Albion had it all to do tonight as we welcomed rivals Aston Villa to The Hawthorns for the second leg of our Championship Play-Off Semi-Final tie.
Having opened the scoring at Villa Park through Dwight Gayle, the hosts hit back twice to take a 2-1 advantage but the game wasn’t without controversy with Gayle’s red card for two bookable offences, and the two penalty shouts on the day.
It was first leg repeated in many ways. Craig Dawson gave us the lead in the first half and we again found ourselves reduced to ten men with Chris Brunt’s sending off and as the scores remained level going into penalties, they nicked it.
We weren’t great, many say we won the night, but we reaped what we sowed over the summer with a lack of investment from a none interested owner. Sorry, they deserved the win on the balance of play and possession and chances and our Board’s cheap arsed approach to demanding ‘automatic promotion’.
The fans can be proud, Shan can be proud (Darren Moore should be proud in giving us the shot in the first place) but I don’t buy into ‘unjust decisions’ as a catch all even though Gayle’s sending off was so weak it was laughable.
You get what you deserve, the Play-Offs weren’t enough for our owner – you set the standard from the top and when your standard is Dreamland based, you get what you deserve – fans have to suffer.
After what we saw at Villa last summer and the financial rumours going around about us, let’s hope it’s the owner who pays (for a change) and not us.
Some players take the credit (apart from those running the dressing room), the fans certainly do for the atmosphere on the night, but if the standards and interest aren’t right from the top, sell up you Mr None Interested and move on and give someone with a plan (not someone focused on their bank balance) a chance.
I repeat Moore and Shan deserve credit.
Speaking to the BBC following the fulltime whistle, interim head coach Jimmy Shan said of the match and the way things played out.
“We’ve been on the end of some unjust decisions over the course of the two ties but you just have to accept it. The momentum was with us. But for the lads to go down to 10 men again and perform they did was a credit to them. Their work ethic has been excellent since from the moment I took over and we can be proud of the effort that has been put in. The fans were magnificent too. They can be proud of the way they got behind their team. The atmosphere was electric.”