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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:46 3th February 2010

PENALTY-KING Graham Dorrans kept his nerve to slot home a late winner in this five-goal Bloomfield Road thriller - and propel the Baggies above Nottingham Forest into second place.

Albion started brightly but poor marking allowed Keith Southern to fire Blackpool into a 25th-minute lead.

Cue inform hitman Roman Bednar, who replied just four minutes later before bagging his fifth goal in as many league games five minutes before the break.

Albion again took control after the break but failed to get the third goal their dominance warranted.

The Tangerines enjoyed a late second-half resurgence and more poor defending allowed Seasiders sub Stephen Dobbie to level ten minutes from time.

Incredibly, Albion immediately hit back when sub Ishmael Miller won an 83rd-minute penalty - and Dorrans despatched his fourth spot-kick in as many games.

Albion's recent heavy schedule clearly took its toll on Roberto Di Matteo's men but they weathered a late Tangerines storm to wrap up win No.7 on the road this term.

The Hawthorns boss named an unchanged team for the fifth successive game.

Albion enjoyed plenty of possession during an uneventful opening 15 minutes, with a wayward 20-yard effort by Blackpool defender Rob Edwards the only shot at goal.

Ex-Wolves man Edwards' aerial ball from front to back almost put DJ Campbell in on goal in the 18th minute, but the former Blues striker was forced wide by Scott Carson, who blocked the cross before Gonzalo Jara cleared the rebound.

Albion went close on 21 when Bednar sprung the Tangerines' off-side trap to race onto Chris Brunt's pass.

The ball broke for the Czech striker as he challenged on-rushing keeper Paul Rachubka just outside his area.

Unfortunately, Bednar was forced too wide for a shot on goal and his cross was too deep for Jerome Thomas in the penalty area.

Ian Holloway's team had barely threatened the Baggies' goal but, in the 25th minute, Southern was allowed to wonder through the visitors' defence before firing past Carson from just inside the box.

But Albion responded magnificently and a slick move on a real pudding of a pitch four minutes later carved out an equaliser.

The impressive Youssouf Mulumbu showed wonderful close-control in midfield and quick passes by Dorrans and Brunt put Bednar through.

The former Hearts man kept his nerve to round Rachubka before slotting home with his left foot.

The visitors found the net again on 32 when Thomas tapped home Bednar's cross, but the effort was ruled out for offside.

However, the Baggies were not to be denied a second time and Bednar's second of the game on 40 earned them a half-time lead.

Jara won the ball in defence and, after passing to Brunt, set off on a marauding run down the right.

The Northern Ireland international found his Chilean colleague deep inside the Blackpool half and he delivered a pinpoint cross to give Bednar the simplest of tap-ins.

Albion were almost gifted a two-goal cushion within two minutes of the second half getting underway when sub Andy Butler headed against his own near post as Bednar challenged him for Brunt's left-wing cross.

Di Matteo made an early change after the break when Andy Slory was handed an earlier-than-expected Albion debut as he replaced Thomas in the 53rd minute.

Two minutes later, Jonas Olsson came to Albion's rescue when he beat Ben Burgess to Charlie Adam's free-kick, getting a heavy enough touch to guide the ball safely back to Carson.

Blackpool threatened again on the hour-mark when Ian Evatt headed Adam's right-wing free-kick back across goal and Campell's overhead kick from 12 yards bounced wide of the left-hand post.

Back came Albion, who really should have sewn up the points on 63.

Dorrans' reverse pass put Slory in on goal but the former Feyenoord man flashed a15-yard strike just wide of the far post, with Bednar and Brunt in the middle looking for the cross.

As Albion began to tire, Blackpool found their second wind and the ball dropped kindly for Dobbie in the Baggies box two minutes later, but he sliced his volley horribly wide from 15 yards.

Two-goal hero Bednar's night came to an end in the 65th minute as he made way for Miller.

Dobbie looked liked levelling in the 70th minute but his mazy run in the box was halted by Marek Cech's last-ditch intervention.

Seconds later, fellow sub Gary Taylor-Fletcher fired just over from the edge of the area.

The visitors were hanging on now and Campbell went mighty close on 77 when he saw a ferocious 25-yard strike clip the right-hand angle of post and bar.

But the Baggies finally buckled on 80 when Dobbie advanced to the edge of the box before tucking a fine drive just inside the far post.

However, Albion were not to be denied.

Dorrans slotted Miller through in the 82nd minute but just as he was about to pull the trigger he was scythed down by Butler and referee Dave Foster pointed to the penalty spot.

Miller needed lengthy treatment but Dorrans kept his concentration to slot home his fourth penalty in as many games and restore Albion's lead.

The Baggies lived on their nerves during the dying minutes and, two minutes from time, were relieved to see man-of-the-match Mulumbu head Butler's header off the goalline from Vaughan's right-wing corner.

But Di Matteo's men held on to record a vital victory.

BLACKPOOL (4-4-2): Rachubka; Coid (Butler HT), Edwards, Evatt, Crainey; Bannan (Dobbie 58), Adam, Vaughan, Southern; Burgess (Taylor-Fletcher 58), Campbell. Subs not used: Gilks (gk), Martin, Euell, Husband.

ALBION (4-5-1): Carson; Jara, Tamas, Olsson, Cech; Brunt (Zuiverloon 75), Koren, Mulumbu, Dorrans, Thomas (Slory 53); Bednar (Miller 65). Subs not used: Kiely (gk), Cox, Meite, Moore.

GOALS: BLACKPOOL - Southern (25), Dobbie (80). ALBION - Bednar (29, 40), Dorrans (pen 83).

BOOKINGS: None.

REFEREE: D Foster (Newcastle).

ATTENDANCE: 8,510 (1,209 Albion fans).

ALBION STARMAN: Youssouf Mulumbu.

PIC: TWO GOOD...Bednar celebrates his first goal of the night with team-mates
    Data provided by Press Association

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