Mothers’ Day magic for magnificent Baggies

Huddersfield Town 1 West Bromwich Albion 4

Carlos Corberán’s return to Huddersfield looked like being a disappointing one before a stunning second half performance saw the Baggies come from behind to claim victory for the first time this season scoring four goals in one half for the first time since August 2022.

The first half was as poor a display as we have seen from Albion this season, a performance to match the miserable weather as the Baggies were second best all over the park. Despite edging the possession stats, they failed to register an attempt on goal and consistently gave the ball away in dangerous areas. Had the hosts been a tad more clinical, they could have easily been two or three goals ahead by the break rather than the slender one goal lead they held. As it was, the one goal they did score was from a shot that Alex Palmer will feel he should have saved, with Burgzorg put through after Wallace was dispossessed in midfield.

Whatever Carlos Corberán said to his team at half time worked as the Baggies came out a completely transformed team. Having been on the back foot, loose in possession and tentative all over the park before the break, they were aggressive, accurate and thoroughly dominant from the first minute of the second half and they had already had two attempts on target before Johnston scored the equaliser in the 51st minute.

Palmer’s error had led to the first goal at QPR, and he redeemed himself with a penalty save in the second half – it was a similar story at Huddersfield. Having let in the opener at the John Smiths Stadium, he made a crucial save at 1-1 after an error from Okay Yokuşlu and a fantastic double save a little later in the half.

Goal of the day went to the Turk with his thunderbolt from 25 yards, a fitting way to celebrate turning 30 which he did on Saturday, but Mikey Johnston stole the headlines with another two goals making it six goals in seven appearances for the Irish international, although these were both different to his “usual” goals, the second even coming from his left foot.

This match represented the very best and the very worst of Corberán’s Albion this season – had they been playing against a better side than Huddersfield, the game could well have been beyond them by the break. It has undoubtedly been a tough period for the squad with multiple injuries and seven games in just over four weeks – they have, however, managed to garner fifteen points from those seven games which is a more than acceptable tally. Nonetheless, they must not forget the first half of this match – that display is what can happen if the players are not 100% committed from the off. To get four points from the last two games when they have only really performed for 45 minutes is fortunate – that second half display is what they need to be aspiring to week in week out.

The returns of both Kyle Bartley and Brandon Thomas-Asante to the squad were hugely important and it will be good to have them both in the starting line up against Bristol City next weekend. The hope is that Corberán will be able to choose from something close to a full squad shortly after the international break with Conor Townsend likely to be available next weekend and Matt Phillips and Josh Maja hopeful of being fit at some point in April.

Nine games to go for Albion and anything between ten and fifteen points likely to be enough to secure a top six spot. It’s looking good providing we don’t see a repeat of that first half!

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