Around One ? Baggies closing the gap

Last updated : 12 January 2004 By Tony Scholes

Geoff Horsfield - wrongly booked for diving before scoring his first West Brom goal
In a reverse of the opening fixtures of the season West Brom were looking for revenge against Walsall and should clearly have had a penalty in the first half. Incredibly referee Barry Knight not only refused the spot kick from his unobstructed view three yards from the incident but booked Geoff Horsfield for diving.

Horsfield finally got his first West Brom goal in the second half to clinch the win after Jason Koumas had scored the first.

That was on the Friday and it was expected that Norwich would pull six points clear again on the Saturday with a home win against BRBC who were in turmoil following the resignation of Chairman Pretty Flamingo Gordon Gibb.

But in the upset of the day loan player Alun Armstrong, ironically from Norwich’s East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town, scored the only goal of the game against an under par Canaries.

That allowed Sheffield United to get within a point with a 3-0 win at Gillingham where Mr. Karren Brady hit a hat trick whilst Sunderland moved ever closer with their fourth successive win. This time Nottingham Forest were the victims at the Stadium of Light with the goal coming from Julio Arca.

That was a good result for the Clarets as it allowed us to climb above Forest in the table. It was a fourth defeat on the trot for Paul Hart’s team, without a single goal scored, and their eleventh game without a win.

The Weary Whinger and his Preston team have found themselves in fifth place on the back of a seven game unbeaten run. They had to come from behind to beat West Ham at the Boleyn Ground with two goals just after the hour from strikers Ricardo Fuller and David Healy.

And where is Fuller’s future. Preston were dashed with their attempts to sell him in last year’s two transfer windows because of injury and having constantly talked about him going to the Premiership they now appear to be pricing him out of the market with a ridiculous £4 million price tag on him.

They are very keen to sell him but they surely won’t get anything like that sort of fee for a player untried at the top level.

Ipswich Town’s 1-1 draw at Reading ensures they keep their play off position which means Pie Eaters Wigan Athletic drop to seventh place after a stale 0-0 draw at home to Millwall in front of yet another disappointing crowd of just over 7,000.

Robert Earnshaw - scored his first goal since November
With BRBC having won it was good to hear of the defeats for Derby and Franchise as well as Forest although to be quite honest if we really have to start worrying about the Franchise then we will be well and truly in trouble.

They lost 1-0 at Crewe where the bus shelter behind the goal was more than adequate for the travelling fans who arrived in the club sponsored motor bike and side car. Derby though went in front with only seconds on the clock at Stoke but eventually lost 2-1 on Elvis Presley Day at the Britannia Stadium Windy City.

Finally, there were no goals in the game between Coventry and Watford but five in the first half at Ninian Park as the home side came from two behind to lead against Rotherham. Robert Earnshaw finally scored again grabbing the third right on half time which proved to be Cardiff’s winner. His last goal came at the end of November.

Some of the First Division clubs will be involved in FA Cup replays this midweek but there are no league fixtures until next Saturday when there is a full programme. All matches kick off at 3:00 p.m. unless otherwise shown.

Saturday 17th January

BRBC v Cardiff City
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion
Derby County v Gillingham
Franchise v Stoke City
Ipswich Town v Crewe Alexandra
Millwall v Sunderland
Nottingham Forest v Reading
Preston North End v Wigan Athletic (12:30 p.m.)
Rotherham United v Norwich City
Sheffield United v West Ham United (5:35 p.m.)
Walsall v Coventry City
Watford v Crystal Palace

Leading Goal Scorers (League Only)

17: Robert Earnshaw (Cardiff)
16: Marlon Harewood (West Ham – 12 with Nottm Forest)
15: Ricardo Fuller (Preston)
13: Robbie Blake (Burnley)
13: Steve Jones (Crewe)
13: Peter Thorne (Cardiff)
11: Jermain Defoe (West Ham)
11: Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace)
10: Pablo Counago (Ipswich)
10: Andy Reid (Nottm Forest)
9: Dean Ashton (Crewe)
9: Nathan Ellington (Wigan)
9: David Healy (Preston)
9: Rob Hulse (West Brom)
9: Marcus Stewart (Sunderland)
8: Scott Fitzgerald (Watford)
8: Dougie Freedman (Crystal Palace)
8: Geoff Horsfield (West Brom – 7 with Wigan)
8: Jason Koumas (West Brom)
8: Jack Lester (Sheff Utd)
8: Andy Liddell (Wigan)
8: Peter Ndlovu (Sheff Utd)