THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Premier League ~ Inconsistent Baggies fight among themselves
West Brom's away form has been impressive this season, bettered only by the Premier League's top four sides. Saturday wasn't one of their better days as they lost 2-0 against Everton at Goodison Park. The defeat is another sign of how the Baggies' season has drifted from promising to mediocre. There was plenty of fight but little threat from Albion, though their frustration was obvious, with keeper Ben Foster and striker Peter Odemwingie arguing on the pitch. They have picked up one point since beating Chelsea at the start of March and, though they are eight points clear of relegation, the lack of progress will be a concern for the fans.

Championship ~ Tigers continue to fade away
Hull City's chances of a play-off place took another blow with a 2-0 home defeat to relegation-threatened Coventry City. The Tigers manager, Nick Barmby, called a team meeting on Thursday to clear the air following three defeats in a row. Defender Liam Rosenior said "There were a few home truths told to each other. That's the good thing, because we're so close it wasn't anything personal, we just want the best for each other." The meeting clearly didn't work, though, as Coventry picked up their first Championship away win of the season and moved out of the bottom three for the first time since October. The result leaves Hull in ninth, five points below sixth place Brighton.

League One ~ Westley accuses PNE players of leaking tactics
Graham Westley, the Preston North End manager, claimed that some of his players had leaked tactical information to Sheffield Wednesday players before their match on Saturday. Westley, who took charge at Deepdale in January, has won only three in 17 games following his side's 2-0 defeat at Hillsborough. "That shows you what we are up against," Westley said. "It doesn't surprise me. When you have got people in your own camp working against you it is tough. To stand in the dugout today and to be told by [Sheffield Wednesday's] dugout that four of our players had given our side to them says where our side is at." Preston started with Aaron Brown, the 6ft4 centre-back, up front. The defeat leaves them six points above the relegation zone.

League Two ~ Bradford's bad week gets worse at Plymouth
Bradford City manager Phil Parkinson admitted his side need a break after ending March with yet another defeat. City picked up only five point from nine games in the month, which hit a low with the "battle of Valley Parade" against Crawley last Tuesday. The post-match brawl resulted in three Bradford players being sent off in the changing rooms. Despite Bradford's changed side dominating at Home Park, an early Juvhel Tsoumou goal won it for the hosts. "We all need a break," said Parkinson. "Lads like Lee Bullock and Craig Fagan have played nearly all the games. It’s a mental and physical fatigue for everybody when you go through a run like we’ve had in the last month. The long journeys and all the travelling take their toll. But the lads have given us everything and we should have had more points than we’ve got."

Conference
~ Another late goal for York at Kenilworth Road
York City took a big step towards securing a play-off place by beating Luton Town 2-1 at Kenilworth Road on Friday night. The Minstermen left it late, though, after Andre Gray put the hosts 1-0 up after five minutes. The score remained that way until the 81st minute, when Patrick McLaughlin levelled for City. Five minutes later and the visitors struck the winner through James Meredith. It isn't the first time City have scored late against Luton this season. Matty Blair secured a trip to Wembley in FA Trophy final with a 90th minute goal against Luton in the semi-final second leg on 17 March. The league win leaves City in fourth place, three points above Luton in sixth.

Portugal ~ Benfica beat Braga as Porto go top
Sporting Braga's run of thirteen straight wins came to an end against Benfica at the Estádio da Luz on Saturday. Bruno César scored the winner in the second minute of injury time for the home side as the match between the title challengers ended 2-1. The result means Benfica leap-frogged their opponents into seconds place, while Porto took top spot with a 2-0 win over Olhanense. Braga host Porto in their next match and will be keen to get back to winning way as they hunt for their first ever Portuguese title. Tom Hocking

Comments (5)
Comment by revpafc 2012-04-02 12:42:43

I'd be interested in your seat number at Home Park, Tom. To say that Bradford dominated on Saturday is more than a little deluded - apart from a late flurry at the end, Jake Cole in the Argyle goal didn't have a shot to save, unlike Matt Duke, whose full-length dive to tip away Paul Wotton's drive must rank as one of the best saves seen at HP for quite some time. Add to that Robbie Williams' freekick hitting the crossbar, three glorious chances for Chadwick, a Tsoumou one-on-one - no, we battered them and should have had it wrapped up by half-time. That we didn't says a lot for the nervy state of the bottom of L2, and no-one is counting any chickens in Plymouth, given how tough our run-in is.

Comment by JimDavis 2012-04-02 14:26:54

Well if a player need a few weeks rest, getting a post match red cards is quite an efficient way to do it!
As for the baggies, you do have a point and don't have a point. Do you measure progress on the fact that your best is better than it was last season, or is progress more to do with how consistent you are each week?
A quick check of the season shows 3/4s of our 36 points have come in 3 short burst where we have manages to play really good team football for 2-3 weeks before going back to a limp and disjointed set up. The other 1/4 of points coming from lucky escapes such as at Norwich at the start of the season and at Wigan the other week.
We probably need one more burst of coherence to see the season out with all reputations intact and confidence going into the summer (and a possible double over Villa!) But I'm sure most baggies fans will agree that if we cannot get 5 points from out last 11 games we should be relegated.
To me progress would be if I don't have to live through such a run for the first time in the Premier League.

Comment by geobra 2012-04-02 17:48:48

A little bit of history was made in Serie A as Inter became the first team ever to win after conceding three penalties. They came in a 25-minute spell in the second half and Genoa converted them all but Inter, who also got one from the spot, won a crazy game 5-4. It was certainly not the kind of performance on which to pass judgement on new coach Andrea Stramaccioni. To most people it looked like the same old Inter, except that they won, against the side with the leakiest defence in the division. But Massimo Moratti seemed happy, for once.

Meanwhile Milan claimed they were robbed of another 'goal' in the 1-1 draw at Catania as Robinho's shot was cleared from on or behind the line by Marchese. If it was a goal, it was in by millimetres, but I don't think it was.

PSG's 2-1 defeat at Nancy suggests that two clubs who have been given carte blanche to buy success might be disappointed at the end of the season. But while a Manchester United triumph would just be more of the same, if modest Montpelier come out on top in France it will be a real tonic.

Comment by grahamjohn678 2012-04-02 18:29:50

The Albion are progressing the best that can be expected for a club with our budget. The second season up is always harder than the first, so I never thought we'd finish as high as 11th. Lets just hope we can get 4 points from our last 7 games. We've got a good enough manager.

Also, given the long-term injuries to Morrison, Reid and Gera, I think Woy has been resting Brunt, Mulumbu and Scharner over the last few weeks. They'll hopefully be fit to play a big part in the important home games we've got coming up against Blackburn, QPR and Villa.

Comment by madmickyf 2012-04-05 05:31:45

Bah, why did you have to mention the Luton v York game? Couldn't you have mentioned the time we beat them 156 - 1 instead (as seen on the Morecambe & Wise show)?

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