BEN Foster was delighted to produce what he believes is the best performance of his career when it mattered most in last night’s memorable 2-0 win at Anfield.
The Hawthorns No.1 was in sparkling form as he pulled off a string of word class saves, including a game-turning penalty save from England skipper Steven Gerrard in the 77th minute.
It was Albion’s first clean sheet in 11 games in all competitions and gave Gareth McAuley and substitute Romelu Lukaku the chance to secure the Baggies’ first league win of 2013 with two late goals.
“The penalty save probably just made it,” said Foster.
“I played a really good game for Blues against Chelsea at St Andrew’s which we won 1-0 and Lee Bowyer scored.
“I played well in that game and the Carling Cup final against Arsenal was great.
“But with the penalty save and the fact we were playing at Anfield, this probably just tops it.
“And the fact we needed the win so badly was probably just the icing on the cake.
“This was a really sweet one."
The 29-year-old stopper also revealed the input goalkeeper coach Dean Kiely had in helping him save Gerrard’s spot-kick.
“When I saw it given I didn’t really think it was a penalty and the lads aren’t really the type to start crowding around referees,” he added.
“But they did seem really aggrieved by the decision so you could see the relief on their faces when I saved it.
“I did have an idea which way he might go.
“Deano will always show me the recent penalties of the person that takes them and, in all honesty, they were a bit scattered, left and right.
“Deano just said ‘if I were you I’d go down to your left’.
“You try to use your instincts too, and they told me to go left as well, and fortunately I managed to save it.”
Foster also praised his team-mates and admitted the victory, which saw Albion leap-frog the Reds into eighth in the Barclays Premier League table, was just the tonic after a troubled start to the New Year.
“In all honesty, any save is job done for me, I don’t care whether I’ve plucked it out of the top corner or it’s a routine one into my chest,” said the former Manchester United keeper.
“As long as it doesn’t go into the back of the net I’m happy.
“There were a few that were a bit harder than usual but the ball didn’t go in the net and I’m happy with that, and the lads in front of me were fantastic, blocking this and that.
“It was a great performance from us because you know there are going to be a few shots against you at Anfield but we kept running, chasing and closing down and it was a great performance.
“The clean sheet has taken a while so to get it at a place like Anfield, with a performance like that from the lads, makes it a little bit sweeter.
“It was a little bit reminiscent of last year. They had a lot of opportunities but we all stuck together and kept going and we maybe deserved a bit of luck.
“It feels sweet, not only because of the difficult run but also because of the negativity that’s been going on and has been played out in the press as well.
“We showed that we haven’t let any of that affect us.
“We kept together as a team and a unit and we just carried on.
“Players are very good at not letting things like that affect them and we have definitely stuck together over the last few weeks.”