Albion’s first win on the road since September moved them up into second place, albeit having played a game more than their rivals, as they beat Ipswich Town at Portman Road for the first time since October 2006.
It wasn’t quite as emphatic as that previous win at Ipswich when Phillips and Kamara went on a scoring rampage in a 5-1 victory, but it was, for the most part, comfortable although the error from Tosin that gifted the hosts a goal with five minutes to go made the final few minutes a little more nervous than it should have been.
It was a shame for the young Man City loanee as he had an otherwise very good game along with the rest of the back four. Albion controlled the first half and could easily have been two or three up before the break but they had to be content with the one goal, a well-worked move that was finished by Jay Rodriguez.
The hosts started the second half on the front foot and caused the Albion a few problems, but never really threatened to break through. After the hour, Albion started to impose themselves on the game once again and had a number of chances before Barnes squeezed the second into the near corner after a quick break that had started at an Ipswich corner.
After Tosin’s error, which will ultimately be something that he should learn from, there was a lot of pressure but few real chances. The closest Ipswich came to an equaliser was the free kick that clipped the post in what was pretty much the last action of the game.
It should have been a lot easier for Albion. Rodriguez had a great chance in the second half but too long to set himself and allowed the defender time to get the block in, and Barnes hit the post when he probably should have scored. Moreover, the Baggies were denied a penalty in the first half when Tosin was manhandled to the ground only for referee, Keith Stroud, who made strange decisions throughout, somehow saw it as a free kick for Ipswich.
It was close to the performance that Big Dave’s team produced against Leeds, but they barely had to break sweat and maybe that was the problem. They maybe allowed Ipswich the ball a little too much, particularly in the first half.
That the hosts had more possession and more passes than Albion is surprising given their domination of the game, but telling. Ipswich passed it around with little penetration while Albion got the ball forward quickly with incisive high risk passing, so while the hosts would take a long time to get nowhere, the Baggies would either create a chance or lose the ball trying to find the killer pass.
Looking back at previous promotion campaigns, it’s interesting that 31 points from 18 games put Albion down in 8th place in 2000 some 10 points behind leaders, Fulham. And while Albion may have played more than their rivals this season, that was the same back then with only one of the sides ahead of them having played 18 games and Fulham’s 41 points had come from just 16 games!
Another point to note is that Di Matteo’s 2009 team have now caught up with the current side in terms of goals scored thanks to a 4-0 win at Hillsborough in game 18, and their goals against column is somewhat healthier having conceded nine goals fewer.
|* Positions are recorded as Albion’s position in the table after all fixtures for that day have been completed.|
|2000/2001||11/11/2000||Huddersfield Town (A)||W||2-0||Jordão, Hughes|
|2001/2002||07/11/2001||Birmingham City (A)||W||1-0||Johnson|
|2006/2007||18/11/2006||Burnley (H)||W||3-0||Koumas, Ellington, Carter|
|2007/2008||28/11/2007||Plymouth Argyle (A)||W||2-1||Bednar (2)|
|2009/2010||28/11/2009||Sheffield Wednesday (A)||W||4-0||Cox (2), Thomas, Brunt|
|2018/2019||23/11/2018||Ipswich Town (A)||W||2-1||Rodriguez, Barnes|
|2000/2001||18/11/2000||Gillingham (H)||W||3-1||Hughes (3)|
|2001/2002||17/11/2001||Rotherham United (A)||L||1-2||Moore|
|2003/2004||25/11/2003||Cardiff City (A)||D||1-1||Koumas|
|2006/2007||25/11/2006||Stoke City (A)||L||0-1|
|2007/2008||01/12/2007||Crystal Palace (A)||D||1-1||Hudson (o.g.)|
|2009/2010||05/12/2009||Derby County (A)||D||2-2||Cox, Dorrans|
|2018/2019||28/11/2018||Swansea City (A)|