Former Albion men tells us about his best-ever Hawthorns' moment
DARREN Carter chose one hell of a moment to record his best-ever Albion moment: the winner in a 2-1 victory against Arsenal.
The one-time Baggies midfielder, who made more than 60 appearances during a two year spell for the club, tells wba.co.uk all about that memorable victory over Arsene Wenger's side back in October 2005.
Q. Darren, Albion went into that game with just one win from the opening eight League games. Must have been daunting facing that Arsenal side?
A. Back then Arsenal were the ones to beat. It was pretty much the same side - the Invincibles - that had stayed unbeaten for a whole season just 18 months before. We knew it would be difficult and we knew that each and every player would have to be at their best. Even then we had to hope Arsenal weren't fully firing.
Q. Yet it didn't start too well...?
A. No, we went a goal down after about 15 minutes to Philippe Senderos, which was the last thing we needed. It was one thing being carved open by Bergkamp and co from open play but this came from a set-piece, which was one of our strengths. The manager (Bryan Robson) wasn't happy...
Q. Chris Kirkland was criticised by Robson for that after the game - but the goalkeeper went onto have a good game.
A. When you play the top teams you expect the goalkeeper to be tested. Whether Chris was to blame for that goal or not I don't know but he went onto produce four or five excellent saves. As an outfield player, when the keeper is playing that well you feel an extra incentive to reward him.
Q. And then Kanu made it 1-1, just before the break. What was he like?
A. Kanu's goal was a brilliant finish. But that's what he could do. On certain days he was untouchable as a footballer. He had so many tricks but it was his technical ability and awareness that made him stand out. You would fire the ball at him, he'd bring it under control and he was already looking to beat a man or lay it off in the next move. He was the perfect striker for any midfielder like myself - one who liked to get forward. It was a privilege to play in the same side as him and his goal for us was critical in that game.
Q. Tell us about you goal...
A. I came as a substitute (for Ronnie Wallwork) and about eight minutes later we took the lead. It was instinctive. The ball bounced into my path but it came at me awkwardly. I took it on my chest but didn't have much room to turn so I just lashed at the ball. I caught it sweetly and as soon as it left my foot I thought 'this could be THE one...' It just arrowed in, past Lehmann. It was a brilliant moment for me.
Q. Incredibly, it was Arsenal's fourth away defeat of the season. I presume they didn't take it well?
A. No. This was a great Arsenal side and they were pretty bad losers. I scored with about 15 minutes left so we decided to take the tempo out of the game, we conceded a couple of free-kicks, killed a bit of time, the usual. Towards the end, Cesc Fabregas charged into me and just took a wild kick at me - you could tell it was out of frustration. I didn't mind and it meant we'd done our jobs properly. I spent two years at Albion and that was, without a doubt, my best day as a Baggies player.
wba.co.uk would like to wish Darren Carter and Northampton Town all the very best for the remainder of 2014/15.