Blackpool 0 West Bromwich Albion 2
While Albion look to have ended their travelling problems with a second successive victory on the road, if those Baggies fans present are honest with themselves, the result could easily have been very different.
Blackpool were the better side for long periods, particularly in the first half, and had former Albion youngster, Morgan Rogers, not hit the post with a glorious early chance, the Baggies could have been behind inside the first few minutes. The hosts missed a few other good chances and Alex Palmer was called into action on one or two other occasions – a better side would certainly have taken one or two of those and all four of Albion’s remaining games are against better sides than Blackpool.
Albion, on the other hand, did take their chances. BTA’s backheel finish for the first was exquisite while he also had a huge role in the second retrieving a lost cause to poke the ball back for Swift who laid it on a plate for TGH to finish calmly. The second goal came at a very good time for the visitors with Blackpool gaining momentum at that time, but after that, Albion controlled the game very well despite having much less possession than the hosts.
But while the victory itself was not exactly convincing, coming off the back of the win at Stoke City, will it give the team the confidence to bring their A-game in the closing weeks of the season? Even with the ever-expanding injury list, Nathaniel Chalobah the latest to be added this evening, the team are capable of making the top six if they play somewhere close to their best. Once in the play-offs, anything can happen, but should they get there, the Baggies are unlikely to go into them as favourites!
There were a number of encouraging signs with the strong performance of Taylor Gardner-Hickman off the bench particularly pleasing although the tireless work of his fellow goalscorer, Brandon Thomas-Asante, and the super finish made him my man-of-the-match. Karlan Grant also played well and was unlucky not to score when Grimshaw managed to get something on his firm shot not long into the second half, and Molumby was once again a star in the middle of the park.
One area of concern was the number of times Darnell Furlong was caught out by long balls over the top to CJ Hamilton which led to a number of chances including the two that fell to Morgan Rogers. If a side like Blackpool with a caretaker manager in charge are able to exploit that weakness, you can be sure some of the head coaches Albion will face in the next few games will not have missed that.
Albion could be as low as ninth after Wednesday’s games, but with Sunderland and Norwich City to come to the Hawthorns, they do now have a fantastic chance of making the top six. The team’s performance under pressure in recent seasons suggests that they may struggle to get over the line, but maybe they can find the mentality they need.