And caretaker boss likens Vydra's last-gasp strike to McAuley moment
KEITH Downing hopes Matej Vydra’s last-gasp leveller against Hull can have the same galvanising effect Gareth McAuley’s did at Fulham in September.
The Czech Republic international stepped off the bench to earn a deserved point in a 1-1 Hawthorns draw with his first-ever Barclays Premier League goal to cancel out Jake Livermore's 28th-minute opener.
It ended a run of four successive defeats for the 16th-placed Baggies and Downing hopes it will spark a positive run of results like McAuley’s late Craven Cottage equaliser did after a difficult start to the campaign.
“I just think the difficult week we’ve had means that goal is a big boost for us,” said the Baggies caretaker boss.
“I’ve likened it to Gareth McAuley’s late goal at Fulham after we’d had a poor start.
“I think it was that sort of feeling in the dressing room.
“I don’t mean we’re jumping through hoops.
“But it has certainly stopped the rot and it was important to do that.
“Ideally I’d liked to have had three points.
“But when I took over on the Tuesday I was prepared to enjoy it and secondly get the response off the players.
“I’ve done that.
“I’d like to have finished with three points but in the circumstances I can’t be too greedy.
“The game fluctuated, I had to make decisions and thankfully they paid off.”
Downing shook things up at half-time by bringing Saido Berahino on for Scott Sinclair to add impetus to Albion’s attack.
And during the final 20 minutes he brought on Vydra and Zoltan Gera for Stephane Sessegnon and Liam Ridgewell respectively, with the duo combining well for the equaliser.
“I suppose you could criticise the first selection I put on the pitch,” added Downing.
“Half-time came and we had to have a think and show calmness.
“To be perfectly honest, it needed a change, we didn’t play well first half.
“In fairness to Hull we all know how hard they are to play against.
“I was disappointed with the goal we gave them.
“At half-time we had to make a change and it had an impact.
“I was quite calm throughout.
“I envisaged it was going to be a tight game.
“The team is short on confidence a little bit and there was an edginess and tension.
“The crowd got like that as well in the first half – and rightly so.
“But in the second half we got some sort of momentum to our game.
“I don’t think we created masses of chances but we got some momentum and had a lot of possession, and worked the ball.
“We showed perseverance, and I know from working with these players for four or five years, they have big hearts and really want to do well.
“They kept going right until the end.”