Less than a week after the Battle of Bramall Lane, Albion were on the road again and travelled to the City Ground, Nottingham, on Friday 22nd March 2002 looking to keep up the pressure on Wolves who were playing the following day.
That morning, the Football League confirmed that the 3-0 scoreline when the match against Sheffield United was abandoned would stand as the result so the Baggies were eight points behind their Black Country neighbours with a game in hand, and just seven matches to play.
The match at the City Ground, televised by Sky TV, was a tight affair and it was still goalless just before the hour mark when Megson opted to replace Danny Dichio with “veteran” Baggies hero, Super Bobby Taylor.
It was not until there were just seven minutes to go when the 35-year-old striker was to make his mark. Future Baggie, Riccardo Scimeca, played a part by fouling Scott Dobie 20 yards from goal level with the right hand post – a perfect position for Albion’s free kick maestro, Neil Clement.
Clement struck it sweetly but it curled a little too much and struck the inside of the post, as it rebounded it hit the hand of the airborne Forest ‘keeper, Darren Ward, and popped up nicely for the ever alert Taylor to nod the ball home. Cue pandemonium in the Albion end behind that goal.
It was the Baggies’ fifteenth 1-0 win of the campaign and it moved them to within five points of Wolves in second place with both sides now having played 40 games.
The following day, Dave Jones’ team faced play-off hopefuls, Norwich City, at Molineux. Wolves had not won in three games and had disappointingly lost at home to relegation-threatened, Grimsby Town, the previous week. It was to be another day of anguish for the Wanderers’ fans as they could not find a way past Rob Green in the Canaries goal. The game finished 0-0 and the gap to the Baggies now stood at six points with Wolves having five games remaining, Albion six.
|Division One Promotion Battle – 23rd March 2002|