2011/12 season review - November to January
Tom Harper looks back on a season to remember
Only days after the 2012/13 fixtures were released, Tom Harper looks back on last season as Albion established themselves as a Premier League side and gained Midlands dominance.
November started with a 3-0 defeat at The Emirates against Arsenal. This performance was particularly frustrating, as we seemed to be set up just to keep the score at 0-0 for as long as possible, whereas just over 12 months previously we had attacked Arsenal and ended up winning 3-2 by beating them at their own game.
Another international break followed before we returned to action against Bolton Wanderers at The Hawthorns. An excellent display from returning fans’ favourites Zoltan Gera and Shane Long, and goals from Jerome Thomas and Long, helped us pick up a fairly comfortable 2-1 win against a Bolton side who produced one of the worst performances I saw last season.
The following weeks saw us host Spurs and take an early lead through Youssouf Mulumbu, only to end up losing the game 3-1 after conceding two goals in the final ten minutes.
A run of what could be described as more winnable games in December began with a trip to Loftus Road to take on QPR. We played poorly for much of the game and the hosts should have been out of sight before Long equalised with just under ten minutes remaining to pick up a valuable point.
Our next game was undoubtedly a contender for our worst performance and result of the season, as we suffered a 2-1 defeat at home to Wigan Athletic. An excellent free-kick from Steven Reid gave us a first-half lead, but we gave away two sloppy goals to lose yet another home game after a disappointing performance.
This result put more pressure on our trip to Blackburn Rovers the following week, and it took two goal of the season contenders from Morrison and Odemwingie (with just one minute remaining) to help us pick up the three points and lift ourselves away from the relegation zone.
Just four days later, we travelled to St James' Park to take on Newcastle United, who had been so impressive for much of the first half of the season. After showing our defensive strength up to this point in the season, it was our attacking quality which saw us win an enthralling game 3-2, with goals from Odemwingie, Gareth McAuley and a late winner from Scharner providing Albion fans with an excellent early Christmas present.
Boxing Day saw us host Manchester City, and an excellent defensive display helped us pick up an unexpected point after a 0-0 draw against the side who eventually won the Premier League.
Unfortunately, the three impressive results around the Christmas period were not built upon at the start of 2012 as we suffered another disappointing home defeat on New Year's Day, this time going down 1-0 to Everton after conceding yet another late goal.
Just two days later, what was becoming an increasingly injury-hit Albion squad travelled to White Hart Lane and produced a battling performance which was unlucky to end in a 1-0 defeat.
We were given a brief distraction from our inconsistent league form in our next game, as we beat a second-string Cardiff City side 4-2 in the third round of the FA Cup thanks to a hatrick from Cox and a goal from Odemwingie.
We followed this game with yet another disappointing home defeat, this time against Norwich City as a second-half penalty from Long was not enough to prevent us losing 2-1 after conceding yet another late goal.
The following week saw us travel to the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City in a game which few Albion fans saw us winning, especially after seeing Roy Hodgson name Gabriel Tamas and Fortune in the starting line-up after months out of the side. However, Hodgson's tactical nous once again worked as goals from Morrison and a last-minute Graham Dorrans free-kick saw us end yet another hoodoo and pick up a much-needed three points.
Unfortunately, the optimism gained from this impressive victory was ended by another home defeat to Norwich City, this time in the fourth round of the FA Cup as Fortune scored in a 2-1 defeat.
What was your highlight of last season? Have your say here at Baggies Banter.
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