After going 2-0 down just 10 minutes into the second half, a Ciaran Clark header and Jonny Evans own goal saw us pull off what seemed an unlikely comeback to take a point from West Brom in a 2-2 draw at The Hawthorns tonight.
After conceding just before the half-time whistle, it had that ‘here we go again’ feel about it. It was the THIRD consecutive match we’d shot ourselves in the foot just before the break and seemed all too familiar.
It then got worse, with another piece of woefully soft defending allowing Matty Phillips’ cross to be met all too easily by Sam Field at the back post.
At this point, it felt like game over and our fifth defeat on the spind. After all, prior to tonight’s game, we’d only scored ONE goal ALL SEASON after conceding the first goal this season (Joselu’s against Liverpool) , so it’s understandable why you wouldn’t hold much hope of two goals in half an hour. West Brom looked very ordinary, but we never looked like scoring up until this point.
Matt Ritchie’s inswinging corner kick was met by Ciaran Clark, giving us an immediate response. Another soft goal, but one that at least worked in our favour on this occasion, giving us a foothold in the game once again.
What a corner this is, inch perfect. pic.twitter.com/jQjklVHAHl
— Adam. (@SimplyMitro) November 28, 2017
— NUFCThreatLevel (@NUFCThreatLevel) November 28, 2017
The own-goal that followed late on was fortunate to give us the draw, but we’d been knocking on the door and could’ve even gone on to win this one if we’d had another 5 minutes to spare.
Aleksandar Mitrovic’s introduction gave us a totally different look up top. Whilst Joselu enjoyed little service all night, Mitrovic gave us so much more in the 25 minutes he was on the pitch. He offered much more of a presence, held up the ball and showed some nice touches, being far harder for the West Brom centre-backs to handle than Joselu was all night. He wasn’t the only substitute who made an impact though, with Aarons and Shelvey giving us more attacking threat going forward.
Rafa will be criticised for starting Joselu once again, but all three substitutes helped change the game. No more so than Mitrovic, who must surely start at Stamford Bridge on Saturday?!
Merino was sloppier than we’ve come to expect and Yedlin didn’t cover himself in glory once again, but given how bleak it was looking with half an hour to play, this could turn out to be such a big result for us.
It stops the rot and give us a valuable point against a side who could be a real relegation rival come May next year. Onto Chelsea we go.