Striker reveals he surprised himself for first goal
SHANE Long has put his sensational derby strikes down to extra finishing practice on the training pitch with joint-assistant head coach Keith Downing.
The Ireland international netted twice in eight minutes to give the Baggies an early 2-0 lead at The Hawthorns – but the visitors fought back in the second half to earn a point.
And Long, who has now scored three goals in his last two outings, insists he surprised himself with the touch and finish he provided to put the hosts ahead after only three minutes.
“Keith Downing takes me out after training every day for extra finishing practice,” said Long.
“When Brunty gets the ball in the middle of the park you know that if you make a run he’ll more than likely find you.
“I like running in behind defenders and sometimes the ball comes over your shoulder like that.
“Nine times out of 10 that touch won’t come off like that for me.
“I surprised myself but it’s nice to get it down, get it settled, and finish it left footed.
“Hopefully I can keep playing well from now until the end of the season.
“You get into those positions so you need to make sure you can capitalise on them.
“For the second, to be fair to Baker, he came across well and cut me off.
“I took a chance dinking it because Guzan is a big keeper who spreads himself out.
“It’s a little bit instinctive.
“I went wide and I knew it would be difficult to drive a shot through him.
“I was hoping he’d go to ground like he did and I’d be able to get it over him.”
Long says he did not anticipate a Villa comeback – and admits Albion should have gone on to win the game.
“We put ourselves in a great position to go on and win the game,” he added.
“All I could see was a third and a fourth goal coming.
“We’re disappointed to only come away with a point but we have to learn from this.
“We started really well, got at them, and caused them a lot of problems first half.
“We still played well and there are lots of positives to take from the game.
“We can go to Newcastle with confidence.
“Hopefully we can pick up three points away from home.”