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Match Report: West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Queens Park Rangers (West Brom Fan's Perspective)

Monday 16th April 2012
West Brom are now certain of Premier League football for another season having reached the magical 40 point barrier with four games to go after Saturday's 1-0 victory over relegation battlers Queens Park Rangers. A win that brought up the Baggies' fourth win in five home games home - not bad considering our mid-season form at The Hawthorns.

Following Wednesday's defeat on the blue side of Manchester, the Albion made a number of changes. Chris Brunt, Jerome Thomas, Liam Ridgewell, Gareth McAuley, Marc-Antoine Fortune and Peter Odemwingie all returned to the starting line up in place of Keith Andrews, Shane Long, Paul Scharner, Nicky Shorey and Simon Cox. Before the game got under way, there was another change as Jonas Olsson had to leave the pre-match warmup with a groin strain. In his place came Craig Dawson, with youngster James Hurst taking his position on the bench.

QPR made one change, with Shaun Derry returning from suspension replacing Akos Buzsaky. Mark Hughes' side knew just how important this game was for them, sitting precariously close to the drop, and they were the ones who came out of the blocks the quickest.

Bobby Zamora took advantage of an early Dawson slip, but as he has done so many times this season Ben Foster came to the Albion's rescue as he blocked the much travelled striker's shot. Apart from this early chance, the majority of the first half was Albion's. There were two chances for Odemwingie, the first one sent inches past the post, and the second fired straight into the Smethwick End.

In the 22nd minute, Graham Dorrans broke the deadlock with a cracking strike from 30 yards out. The majority of the QPR players were around the box when Odemwingie laid the ball off to the Scottish international, who smashed the ball into the top right-hand corner, for one of the best goals seen at The Hawthorns this season.

The away team tried to push for an equaliser, with Adel Taarabt sending his shot wide from 20 yards. While the Albion pushed for another goal to double their lead before the half time break, but Odemwingie fired into the side netting and Youssef Mulumbu saw a shot loop into Rangers keeper Paddy Kenny's hands.

QPR could have equalised before the break when, in the 39th minute, Zamora headed wide of the far post from Taye Taiwo's cross. The Albion also had another chance through Odemwingie, but Anton Ferdinand's desperate defending denied him.

The second half began with the Baggies on top. Dorrans saw a chance go straight into the hands of Kenny, and soon after Billy Jones should have scored when he shot at goal only for it to bounce off the post and into safety. Minutes later, there was bad news for the Albion when Fortune limped off, being replaced by Long.

Shortly after the substituon, Joey Barton could have grabbed an equaliser for QPR when he sent two shots at Foster. And as the second half progressed QPR pressed further for an equaliser, sending a host of players up front and high balls into the box. The Albion defended strongly, with the back line reacting to anything and everything thrown at them, marshalled by the ever impressive Foster.

West Brom almost doubled their advantage as 90 minutes approached when Long was sent through by Andrews, only for Nedum Onuoha to lean into the striker to make sure he sent the ball wide. The final whistle went soon after, and the Hawthorns erupting with cheers.

A win was exactly what we needed to ensure our third consecutive season in the top flight was secured. Bring on the next challenge - Liverpool away next week, why ever not? Boing Boing!

Man of the Match: Graham Dorrans. For once, it's not Ben Foster (although he still had a great game) as Graham Dorrans really shone throughout his time on the pitch. He scored a belter of a goal, and his overall play was similar to that we saw two seasons ago in the Championship. After a spell on the sidelines, Dorrans looks like he his back to his best, and in the next few games he should be able to prove just how important he is to the squad.
Alex Horton

Total articles: 18

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