Missed chances cost Baggies
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: 26/04/05 7:17pm
West Brom will rue missed opportunities after a 1-1 draw with Blackburn failed to lift them out of The Premiership drop zone.
Bryan Robson's side edged a tight affair but having taken a first half lead through Kieran Richardson's impressive free-kick, a lack of composure ultimately cost them two points at the final whistle, after Brett Emerton had found a 64th minute leveller.
Despite a 4-0 reverse at Middlesbrough at the weekend, Robson's side were confident from the off and the mood inside The Hawthorns was one of expectancy rather than despondence.
Crisp in the tackle and inventive in possession, West Brom's midfield quartet out-fought and out-thought their Blackburn counterparts, with Zoltan Gera and Richardson excelling throughout.
Inevitably, it was the effervescent Hungarian at the hub of much of their best work and within the opening five minutes, he had caused concern for Blackburn when firing narrowly wide from 25 yards.
Dominic Matteo headed over at the other end from a Morten Pedersen long-throw but it was Richardson that went closest in the early part of the half when firing in a warning free-kick that just evaded Brad Friedel's far post.
A previously peripheral Robbie Savage was denied when Gera showed there is more to his game than showmanship with a crucial defensive header, before Richardson stepped up to put West Brom ahead.
An exquisite free-kick on 32 minutes was bent past the Blackburn wall and with Friedel flat-footed, the home crowd exploded - smelling survival.
Blackburn's response was immediate and in an effort symptomatic of a typically difficult second season, Jon Stead did everything right with his half volley but saw the ball smack off the outside of Russell Hoult's post.
Within minutes of the restart and Baggies defender Neil Clement could have twice put the game beyond Mark Hughes' visitors.
A free header from no more than a yard went begging when he misjudged the flight of the ball and then a thunderous free-kick was well parried by Friedel considering the driving rain.
Blackburn's robust style has been well documented in recent weeks and three bookings in three second half minutes will do nothing but fuel the misgivings of their detractors.
However, it is a never-say-die attitude that has yielded results and when Pedersen dispossessed a ponderous Clement, West Brom's defending was criminal.
Excessive backing-off allowed the Norwegian to travel to the edge of the West Brom box and having found his Australian team-mate - Emerton was poised in his finish to loft over Hoult for a leveller.
Gera headed onto the top of Blackburn's bar but for the large part of a frustrating second half for the home side, a lack of guile in the right areas was their major flaw.
Completing a hat-trick of opportunities squandered, Clement ballooned over from from five yards when meeting Ronnie Wallwork's free-kick on the volley.
Robson's frustration could have been compounded in injury time when Steven Reid's arrow of a strike arched over the top of Hoult's bar but with Manchester United and Arsenal still to play, West Brom's problems have only just begun.
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