Luton Town 2 West Brom 0
Steve Bruce described Albion’s second half performance at Kenilworth Road as “unacceptable” – while some of the words I heard in the away end were a little stronger. It was a second half capitulation that will have left most observers with the feeling that there is little chance that the Baggies can finish in the top six let alone win promotion through the play-offs.
There were some positive signs in the first half albeit that Albion’s best chances came as a result of errors from their hosts. Karlan Grant had two gilt-edged chances – he was perhaps unlucky with the second which came of the crossbar and almost got lucky with the first when his tame shot squirmed under the Hatters’ ‘keeper, Jed Steer.
Ten minutes into the second half, Carroll gave away a free kick 30 yards from goal with an ill-advised lunch and Cameron Jerome rose highest to head home Kal Naismith’s centre. With the concession of the goal, any confidence that the players may have developed in an improved first half performance evaporated. Suddenly, it seemed that they were unable to do even the most basic things and, aside from a late header from Carroll that struck the bar, they didn’t look like scoring at all.
Luton’s second goal was almost inevitable but the finish was the one bit of true quality in the entire game, Allan Campbell’s ferocious shot into the top corner giving Johnstone no chance.
The chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt” were loud in the Oak Road Stand and they were well deserved. The lack of character and quality in that second period was astonishing, certainly as bad as we saw against Preston a few weeks ago if not worse.
This Championship is one of the poorest Albion have played in and their players should be a cut above most of the sides, but as the season has gone on, they have dropped down to the level of a mid-table team which is where they now find themselves. On today’s second half performance, they would struggle to match the teams fighting relegation.
Steve Bruce has evidently read the riot act to the players in the dressing room and he is hoping for a reaction. We will see on Tuesday evening whether he will get it.