Tuesday 26th March 2002 saw Albion given the chance to narrow the gap to Wolves to just three points as they played their game in hand over their Black Country rivals.
Crewe Alexandra were the visitors to the Hawthorns that evening. Dario Gradi’s side sat just a point above the bottom three although they had three games in hand over the sides around them having had an extended cup run earlier in the season.
The vagaries of the fixture list meant that Crewe faced seven of their final ten games away from home, and the game at the Hawthorns was their third successive road trip having lost at both Preston and Bradford in the preceding week.
It was a tight first half and it was not until the 37th minute that Albion took the lead. Jordão intercepted a pass on the left wing and ran through on goal and slotted the ball under Alex ‘keeper, Clayton Ince. A couple of minutes later, however, the visitors were back on level terms as Dean Ashton poked the ball home from close range after Hoult had saved twice from Neil Sorvel.
Albion did manage to go into the break ahead, however. Scott Dobie turned his man on the halfway line and beat another man and drove powerfully down the right side. He squared the ball and Ince a hand to it – Adam Chambers’ shot was blocked but it rebounded to Jordão and the Portuguese stroked it home for his second of the game.
The Baggies made sure of the points just after half time. Balis played a one-two with Dobie and crossed for Danny Dichio to head into the bottom left corner of the net.
Albion’s fourth was all down to Scott Dobie, although there was also some comical defending. He picked up the ball in his own half and powered his way past one defender, while a second slipped as he was about to intercept and Dobie ran forward unchallenged. His shot was saved by Ince, but rebounded against retreating defender David Wright and into the net. It was just the fourth time that Albion had scored four goals in a match that season.
So the gap was now down to three points and Albion were looking forward to hosting Barnsley the following Saturday while Wolves faced a tricky trip to fourth placed Burnley.
The top of the Division One table stood as follows:
|Division One Promotion Battle – 26th March 2002|