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Yeovil Town 2 – 4 West Bromwich Albion

August 29, 2012

My first blog on here will hopefully be the first of many blogs this football season, with the majority being from away trips.

As soon as the draw of the Capital One Cup paired us with Yeovil Town at Huish Park, it was clear that this was a game which I really wanted to attend. Not only would it be an opportunity to visit the ground for a first time, but it was also a chance to watch Albion from a terrace for only the second time in this time of all-seater stadia at almost all levels of the game.

Arriving at the ground just after 6pm for a 7.45pm kick-off (which was delayed due to congestion outside the ground), there were already plenty of supporters who had made the long journey down from the West Midlands gathered outside the turnstiles.

Standing on the uncovered terrace after entering the ground reminded me in some ways of the numerous Non-League grounds I have visited, as there was literally no protection from the elements and the ground had a very old-fashioned and traditional feel to it.

Albion manager Steve Clarke had promised that he would take both cup competitions seriously this season after his appointment as head coach back in June, so it was no surprise to see him name a side containing no fewer than seven full internationals.

The game started poorly from an Albion perspective, as we found ourselves 1-0 down inside 15 minutes thanks to a goal from one of our former players Reuben Reid, who made next to no impact during his time at The Hawthorns but as is always the case in football it seems, decided to produce one of his best performances for some time against his former club.

We gradually found our feet as the half wore on and equalised about ten minutes before half-time, as captain Chris Brunt sent a superb effort from 35 yards swerving mast Marek Stech in the hosts goal and into the top corner.

Two minutes before the break, we took what was arguably an undeserved lead when Shane Long was on hand to bundle the ball home from close range after Stech had dropped what appeared to be a simple catch from a Brunt corner.

Being 2-1 up in a game where we had played so poorly in the main should have given us the impetus to kick on and find another goal at the start of the second half, but it seemed to have the opposite effect.

Yeovil were back on level terms after 47 minutes when Reid was once again on hand to head home close range after more poor defending from the second-string Albion back four.

Both sides had chances after this, with Boaz Myhill forced into two fine saves to deny Reid his hatrick, before Yassine El Ghanassy and Markus Rosenberg were denied by Stech and Richard Hinds on the line in quick succession.

It was at this point that the heavens began to open and the majority of the travelling Albion fans who were located on the uncovered terrace at the Copse Road End of the ground (myself included) were getting absolutely soaked!

Thankfully, at about the same time, the two league difference between the two sides began to show, as the impressive Brunt saw more of the ball and the introduction of Youssouf Mulumbu added some much-needed steel in front of the back four.

We got our third goal in slightly fortuitous circumstances 17 minutes from time, as an El Ghanassy effort from 25 yards was deflected past Stech by Craig Dawson, wrong-footing the goalkeeper and putting Albion back in the lead.

Yeovil manager Gary Johnson went for broke at this point, making three substitutions to try and galvanise his side to get back into the game once again.

However, Long made the game safe with just under ten minutes remaining, as he sent a powerful left-foot shot from the edge of the area past Stech and into the top corner to the delight of the impressive travelling support behind the goal.

As a chorus of “We’re singing in the rain” came from the away end, the game began to peter out as the impact of playing on an increasingly heavy pitch in such a well-contested cup tie began to take its toll on both sets of players.

The most important thing from an Albion perspective was getting through a tie which always had the potential to cause problems, especially after going behind early on.

However, the character shown at Spurs in the Premier League three days previously came to the fore (albeit with an almost entirely different team) and the players were able to grind out a result to send the travelling fans home happy.

Yeovil deserve a lot of credit for playing their part in such an entertaining game, with the atmosphere at Huish Park being very impressive and the performance of the players on the pitch also suggesting that they could be pushing for promotion in League One this season.

Clarke will have learnt a lot about some of the Albion squad players from this game, most notably that some of the back-up options in defence would struggle if required to play in the Premier League for any period of time.

However, the important thing is that Albion progressed and can now look forward to the third round draw on Thursday night.

WBA Player Ratings: Myhill 7, Jara 6, Tamas 5, Dawson 6, Jones 6, Thorne 6, Brunt 8, Gera 5 (Mulumbu 6), Rosenberg 6 (Fortune 6), El Ghanassy 6, Long 7 (Berahino).

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