A look back at another home defeat

Last updated : 07 February 2002 By Tony Scholes

Sadly the behaviour of Jason Roberts dominated the talk after the game and Albion manager Gary Megson said,

"It was a long way from where I was standing so I have to go with what Jason said. He's been booked a couple of times for going down too easily. But you don't get three stitches above your eye for no reason. Jason feels there was an injustice. He didn't react in the right manner and we took him off because we didn't want him getting himself sent off. He lost his head for a while.

"When you play against Jason, you're not going to out-run him and you're not going to be stronger than him. They were finding it hard to contain him and there were a couple of times in the second half when he would have gotten away had they not grabbed him on the halfway line. It's wrong, but he's going to have to try and get used to it. Jason is such a threat but I still feel there are times when we can make more of him."Danny Dichio was much better and should have scored in the second half but his workrate was more in line with what we're after.

"Because of the position we're in, they're all going to be massive games but this was a big, big game in particular. Burnley have got three games in hand on us but they've now got to take at least seven points from those to go above us."It's a very difficult place to come - only Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday have won at Turf Moor - and it's a fantastic result for us. "It was a comprehensive win – but it should have been even more comprehensive because we had chances to score more."We're right in amongst it now and we've got to keep the run going for as long as possible. There are going to be hiccups along the way, but that will be the same for all teams."

Despite the defeat Stan was not too despondent and was at least happy that his squad was getting back somewhere close to full strength with the substitute returns for Robbie Blake, Glen Little and Paul Weller.

"We have got players coming back and they need the matches. Robbie has been injured and Glen played at Cheltenham last weekend when he was not quite right so I gave him a half tonight. We have also got Weller coming back and Lenny Johnrose was on the line. We have a lot of games coming up but playing games is better than training."

"We have come on that quickly, that early, the expectation level is high now but that is a good thing and we just have to take this on the chin. We don't expect to win them all but we have a good squad of players if they are all fit. We will hopefully have the skipper (Steve Davis) back soon and we are as good as anybody in the league, that's my view."

"The dividing line between success and mediocrity is very fine and tonight we were on the wrong end of it but we have to crack on, there is nowt else for it because the next game comes quickly. We have not played a lot of games recently and perhaps we are not battle hardened but we will get there."

Roberts raises Albion's stock

Ian Winrow at Turf Moor (Guardian)

West Bromwich's remarkable progress towards an automatic promotion spot continued when two first-half goals from the impressive Jason Roberts took them to within a point of their neighbours, second-placed Wolves.

Roberts was simply too powerful for the Burnley defence and, having established a two- goal advantage, the notoriously frugal Albion defence was never likely to allow the home side back in the game. The Baggies have not conceded a goal in their seven league games this year and rarely looked in danger of relinquishing that admirable record last night.

If Roberts can maintain his current form, six goals in as many games, there is every chance that Albion will soon occupy one of the top-two positions. It was a testimony to the threat posed by the former Bristol Rovers striker that Burnley tried every trick in the book to stop him.

The forward left the field cut and bruised after being substituted when tempers threatened to boil over. "I took him off because he was losing his head," admitted Megson. "You can't out-run him or out-muscle him when he is in this kind of form; people try everything to stop him but I've told him he'll have to get used to that.

"We are in among it now and we have just got to try and keep this run going. We'll have hiccups between now and the end of the season but then so will all the other teams. We've given ourselves a great chance to be involved in the promotion race right to the very end."

West Bromwich's recent fortunes are in stark contrast to Burnley's, for whom this was a second successive home defeat. Stan Ternent's side were anxious to restore their position in the top six after learning that Norwich's victory over Sheffield United earlier in the day had pushed them out of the play-off places for the first time since the beginning of November.

An early effort from Paul Cook turned out to be one of the few Burnley attacks of note in the first half, when the visitors displayed the confidence acquired from twice defeating Premiership opposition in recent weeks.

Roberts in particular began to harry the Burnley back four and in the opening moments created openings for Danny Dichio and Neil Clement.

It was no surprise, then, that Roberts claimed the opening goal in the 36th minute, when Albion broke swiftly out of defence. A typically forceful run took him beyond the struggling defence and round the goalkeeper Marlon Beresford before he fired home.

Four minutes before half- time Roberts doubled the lead with his sixth goal in as many games, after Ian Cox failed to deal with Andy Johnson's through-ball. The striker unexpectedly found himself one on one with Beresford and calmly slotted the ball inside the far post.

The visitors should have gone further ahead seven minutes after the break only for Dichio to contrive one of the misses of the season when he spooned Igor Balis's tempting low cross over the bar from three yards.