Manchester United F.C. 2-0 WBA
match text commentary
long gone are the days when a west bromwich albion side could travel to old trafford with every potential of a victory, and for a particularly competitive fixture that would regularly produce some of the best football played in the country at the time.
while the baggies have most certainly been one of the league's form teams over the last month, there isn't anyone on the planet who will find this final score-line as any kind of surprise.
wayne rooney scored from a javier hernandez cross in the 35th minute, and then again with 20 minutes left in the match on a penalty to give the scoreline its proper gloss. it was everything that you'd expect in 2012 AD.
the baggies, however, gave a good account of themselves overall and were quite obviously the better team in the early going.
keith andrews should have opened the scoring in the 5th minute when the baggies, pressing the ball deep in the manchester united half, created the opportunity for liam ridgewell to put in a cross that looked like it should have been a tap-in for the veteran mid-fielder, but was put just wide of david de gea's goal.
andrews came close again from a free-kick about 25 yards out, but his effort was this time put just wide of the inside post by a diving de gea who got down low to make the finger-tip save.
the turning point of the afternoon came early in the second-half, and with score still 1-0 to the home team, when peter odemwingie was denied what should have been a penalty. this might very well have given the baggies the impetus to go on and get some kind of result from their visit, but never materialized.
patrice evra clearly tripped the albion winger as he took the ball into the man. u. penalty area. along with anyone who saw it live and in replay on TV around the world, odemwingie had a pretty clear-cut case for being awarded a spot-kick and was instead left prostrate in the 18-yard box, wringing his head with his hands in disbelief at the lack of any decision and the signal from the ref to "play on". then again, unless it's an absolutely nailed-on red-card offence - and as the visiting team - you're never going to get a penalty decision like that going your way at old trafford. never. they don't call it the "theatre of dreams" for nothing.
typically, united took clinical advantage of the situation and immediately broke on the baggies, only to see javier hernandez' long range effort smack off the west brom goal-post.
in the final bit of play that ultimately lost the match for the baggies, keith andrews, having already forced ashley young deep to the bi-line, inexplicably bundled the united mid-fielder to the ground and conceded the penalty that would make the final score 2-0.
however, the ultimate dissapointment of the afternoon for west brom came in the 64th minute, when jonas olsson was dismissed for a second yellow card and will now sit out next week's game at wigan. the swedish defender was clearly upset with himself and was reported to have been somewhat moody with various members of the local press during the post game interviews.
this was otherwise a good performance by the baggies and the fact of the loss shouldn't affect their current form in the coming weeks.