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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:01 13th March 2010

GRAHAM Dorrans' nerves of steel saw off Blackpool for the second time this season as Albion made it five home league wins on the trot.

The Scotland international converted a late, decisive penalty - just like he did in the 3-2 win at Bloomfield Road last month - to cement the Baggies' top-two berth.

In a thrilling encounter, which followed the same goalscoring pattern as the previous meeting between the two clubs, Charlie Adam opened the scoring with a seventh-minute sizzler.

But Ishmael Miller's first goal in 16 months six minutes later and Robert Koren's fourth in five games - a carbon copy of his matchwinner fours days ago - eight minutes into the second half turned this game on its head.

Sub Brett Ormerod clawed the Seasiders level in the 72nd minute before Dorrans' 14th of the season six minutes later completed Albion's fifth league double of the season.

The Baggies' goalpower - they have netted 87 times in all competitions this term - saw them overcome a tricky Seasiders team who haven't won at The Hawthorns for 46 years.

Miller made his first start in 15 months as Roberto Di Matteo rang two changes. Miller replaced Moore (illness) while midweek match-winner Koren came in for Jerome Thomas (hamstring).

Roman Bednar was on the bench, after missing the last three games with a groin injury, where he was joined by the recalled Joe Mattock.

Tangerines boss Ian Holloway named an unchanged side.

Albion started the day in second place - five positions and 16 points better off than today's visitors, who were only two points off a play-off place.

Blackpool displayed all of their passing credentials from the first whistle and snatched a seventh-minute lead with the first shot of the game.

No-one closed down midfield dangerman Adam as he controlled the ball 30 yards out and the former Rangers ace beat Scott Carson all ends up with a left-foot rocket which went in off the post.

Albion did not learn their lesson, allowing Adam to shoot from similar distance two minutes later, but this time his effort whistled just wide of the right-hand post.

Blackpool then carved the Baggies defence open with a slick passing move which resulted in David Vaughan firing a great chance high and wide from DJ Campbell's lay-off.

But Albion regrouped and it took a frantic goalline clearance by Keith Southern to prevent Steven Reid's header from Chris Brunt's corner levelling the scores.

And an equaliser duly arrived on 13 when Miller raced onto Brunt's sublime through-ball before slotting past the onrushing Matt Gilks.

It was the striker's first goal since notching at Wigan in the Premier League in November 2008 and he warmly celebrated with team-mates in front of a jubilant Smethwick End.

Moments later, Reid's huge throw-in wreaked havoc in the Seasiders' box and it took a last-ditch punch by Gilks to clear the danger.

Albion then got in a horrible mess at the back and Carson had to be alert to deal with Neil Eardley's 35-yard snapshot, which he gathered at the second attempt.

The goalmouth action continued to come in spades and Rob Edwards had to intervene at the last minute to prevent Miller connecting with Brunt's header inside the six-yard box.

Miller was enjoying an all-action return and, in the 19th minute, he saw his looping header from James Morrison's deflected cross clutched under the bar by Gilks.

The Albion pressure continued and Gilks was relieved to pounce on the ball after it had bounced off team-mate Alex Baptiste from Dorrans' flag-kick and was heading for the bottom corner.

Blackpool were still getting forward at every opportunity and Carson did well to clutch an acute drive from Jason Euell.

However, Albion should have netted again in the 28th minute. Jonas Olsson saw his towering header from Dorrans' free-kick hit the right-hand post and Miller's follow-up effort was cleared off the line by Edwards. The loose ball flew to Reid, who hacked wildly over from ten yards.

Blackpool threatened again three minutes later when DJ Campbell charged at the Baggies defence, only to shoot well wide from 20 yards.

Another great Albion chance went begging when Miller, who was slightly off-balance, headed well wide from Morrison's pinpoint right-wing cross.

Back came Blackpool and Carson had to push away Southern's awkward 15-yard drive after the midfielder had skipped past Olsson.

That proved the final action of a thoroughly enjoyable half which Albion had shaded.

Di Matteo made a change at half-time as Giles Barnes came on for Morrison.

The sub was soon in the wars and needed lengthy treatment after clashing with Adam.

After a slow start to the second 45, Albion burst into life in the 52nd minute when Koren spearheaded an Albion breakaway and fired just over from 18 yards, when he may have been better served passing to supporting players Brunt or Miller.

But the Slovenia skipper made up for it less than 60 seconds later - and how.

Just like he did on Tuesday, Koren cut in from the right before rifling an unstoppable left-footed strike into the top far corner from 25 yards.

The second half had failed to live up to the first thus far but Albion were well on top and Gilks had a nervy moment in the 64th minute when he fumbled Brunt's 15-yard drive before gathering at the second attempt.

Blackpool did not threaten again until the 68th minute when Campbell's cross fell neatly for Adam, who failed to trouble Carson with a scuffed 18-yard volley.

But when they attacked the next time, Blackpool were level.

In the 72nd minute, Adam whipped a delicious cross to the back post and sub Ormerod, who had only been on the field three minutes, stole in to head home off the bar.

But Albion were back in front just six minutes later.

Referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the penalty spot after Barnes was upended by Joe Martin just inside the box as he raced onto Bednar's first-time pass.

Dorrans made no mistake, coolly sending Gilks the wrong way from 12 yards.

After Reid headed Dorrans' near-post free-kick wide, Albion had a couple of nervy moments.

Adam was off target with a 15-yard header before Carson had to rush off his line to beat Ormerod to a Campbell chip.

But Albion saw out five minutes of stoppage time in a professional manner and Barnes almost made it four when he smashed into the side-netting from an acute angle.

ALBION (4-5-1): Carson; S Reid, Tamas, Olsson, Cech; Koren, Morrison (Barnes HT), Mulumbu, Dorrans, Brunt (Watson 80); Miller (Bednar 62). Subs not used: Kiely (gk), Mattock, Cox, Meite.

BLACKPOOL (4-4-2): Gilks; Eardley, Edwards, Baptiste, Martin (Bannan 84); Southern, Adam, Vaughan, Dobbie (Ormerod 69); Campbell, Euell (Burgess 87). Subs not used: Rachubka (gk), Clarke, Butler, Husband.

GOALS: ALBION - (Miller 13), Koren (53), Dorrans (pen 78). BLACKPOOL - Adam (7), Ormerod (72).

BOOKINGS: ALBION - Koren (over-celebrating 54), Reid (foul 81). BLACKPOOL - Euell (ungentlemanly conduct 77), Martin (foul 77), Eardley (foul 83), Baptiste (foul 90+3).

REFEREE: J Moss (West Yorkshire).

ATTENDANCE: 21,592.

ALBION STARMAN: Robert Koren.

    Data provided by Press Association

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