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95/96: Reports:

Endsleigh League Division 1, 12/3/96
W.B.A. 4(3)
Watford 4(2)
Team: Miller 3, *Bazeley 4*, Barnes 1, Hessenthaler 3, Page 4, Foster 4, Mooney 4, Palmer 4, Ramage 4, Porter 3, Moralee 3
Subs: D White (for Porter) 2, Pitcher, Dixon (for Moralee) 3
Scorers: Ramage 2, Foster 2
A remarkable comeback
Report by Kate Holmes

Feeling very optimistic following our glorious victory against Oldham, off we trekked to wonderful West Bromwich, hoping to maintain our winning run. The trip was largely uneventful, with snow on the ground, until we reached West Brom and got our "police escort". Half an hour after passing the team coach parked right outside, we were finally escorted into the car park.

Not a bad turnout for us - around 700 Hornets, so we were looking for a rather nice win. Half an hour later this did not look a promising prospect. We were shooting the wrong way again, and played as if it was the start of the second half. I am going to gloss over that first half an hour. Let's just say it was as bad as 3-0 suggests. Their fans were taking great delight in chanting "Turnip, what's the score?". At times like these it really makes you wonder why you bother. It was bloody cold, we were getting slaughtered, and people with stupid accents were laughing at us. It made me so glad that we were shooting the wrong way.

Then Ramage decided to put in an appearance, after great work from Tommy Mooney - pulling the ball back from the byeline, he sidefooted the ball perfectly into the bottom corner of the net. What a difference a goal makes. We were suddenly a transformed side, and began to run at them. Baze put over some great crosses and we caused them all sorts of problems. We pulled a second one back about seven minutes from half-time. A corner came over and, after a bit of a scramble, it ended at the feet of Fos, who slammed it left footed into the back of the net.

The next few minutes saw us piling on the pressure, and Moralee had a great chance to equalise after turning brilliantly, but his shot was straight at the keeper. West Brom did come very close to yet another, but a clearance off the line by Hessy kept the scores down.

Half-time came with us well on top, and probably at the wrong time. Both defences were playing badly, and it was just a case of keeping up with the goals scored. The atmosphere had been fairly electric, but having been three goals up, I don't think their fans were too chuffed. Their stewards seemed to have been rejected by Palace for being too violent - celebrating a goal is obviously an offence.

The second half was much tighter, as we decided not to go all out for a goal too early. Most of the damage caused came from Mooney and Bazeley on the wings, Ramage being totally frustrating but if he continues scoring goals I will be happy.

We brought on Devon White and Kerry Dixon (also called White by the tannoy announcer) for Porter and Moralee, dropping Rams into midfield. With about 25 minutes left, we went on an all-out attack. We thought we had got a deserved equaliser - yet another right wing cross went over the keeper's head and was headed home by Kerry Dixon. Unbelievably the ref disallowed it - I can't say what for as I was down the other end and I'm writing this report on the coach on the way home. As usually happens when we attack in numbers, we were left wide open in defence, and they ran through and got another goal. Having been 3-0 down, we were now 4-2 down with about ten minutes left to salvage some pride.

We threw all caution to the wind and tried everything to try and pull some thing from this game. With about six minutes remaining we got our third. Robert Page, who was our best defender on the night, put over a cross from the right wing. It got a near post flick-on and Rams came steaming in to score his second of the night. Cue mass frenzies amongst the Hornets faithful. West Brom were starting to panic now.

I really began to think that the disallowed goal would prove crucial, but I was wrong. With about three minutes left, Mooney's long throw was missed by Devon and their keeper flapped at it. We think it was Fos who was on hand to score his second of the night. As you will probably imagine, the celebrations were totally mental and this is where the stewards began to "Crystal Palace".

One Hornet was dragged out, over about three rows of seats, over a barrier and pulled by about six stewards towards the exit. They were hitting him, and I saw one of them try and gouge his eye. When several of us complained to the chief steward, he said that it didn't happen. Still, Pete Fincham saw it so beware West Brom.

The last couple of minutes were fairly tense, and having come so far I desperately didn't want them to win. We had a few scares and they got a corner in injury time. Fos managed to clear it, and the ref blew his whistle for full time.

The players looked more relieved than happy, but seeing our reaction seemed to make them celebrate a bit more. If we do manage to stay up, this game will be seen as one of the major turning points. To come from 3-0 down away from home to get a point takes some doing, but when you consider our position, it makes it more remarkable. As for West Brom, I should think they will be looking over their shoulders and panicking somewhat. After that match, I think I can cope with pretty much anything that might be handed out over the next couple of months. Roll on Derby!