West Bromwich Albion’s Board and owner declared the Championship Play-Off spots weren’t enough for former head coach Darren Moore, but earlier today interim gaffer Jimmy Shan sent the side out for the Semi-Final first leg tie against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
Both sides have been in good form in recent times, albeit with the odd hiccup, so plenty expected an interesting tie today as at the end of the regular season, only four points separated us in the table.
Shan’s gameplan worked perfectly for over an hour and we did have the lead as Dwight Gayle nipped in 16 minutes into the match to make it 1-0. But the hosts finished strongly and got back on level terms with 15 minutes remaining in the first leg. With Villa seeing their penalty shout make it 2-1, the referee completely ignored our later shout but he did then show Gayle a harsh second yellow card as he made contact with their goalkeeper.
2-1 at the halftime stage, but this one is far from over yet.
Speaking to the BBC following the final whistle being blown in the opening encounter of our doubleheader, Shan said of our efforts.
“It’s very frustrating. Dwight Gayle’s a big player for West Brom. He gets booked for allegedly time wasting at a long throw-in. Then, for the second, he’s got every right to go in and contest the ball. There was no malice whatsoever. He’s gone in to make contact, to get on the end of the cross from Jay Rodriguez and make himself a two-goal hero. And we should have a penalty ourselves. There was no attempt to win the ball in Abraham’s challenge on Holgate. It was a penalty all day long. But we’ve still got 90 minutes ahead of us. The atmosphere will be electric and we’ve got to be bit more on the front foot and take the game to Aston Villa.”