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Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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Discussion Starter #1
West Bromwich Albion picked up just their 13th point of the season following a goalless draw with Newcastle United at The Hawthorns.

The Baggies were much improved from the side that had not won in their last 13 Premiership outings, while The Magpies were frustrated in their efforts to secure back-to-back wins.

Newcastle were without a host of strikers - including Craig Bellamy, Alan Shearer and Patrick Kluivert - leaving manager Graeme Souness to use Shola Ameobi as a lone striker in his starting XI.

The visitors began the better of the sides and should really have taken the lead through an unlikely source just five minutes into the match.

Titus Bramble could only find West Brom goalkeeper Russell Hoult with his header after he was left unmarked from six yards out when Laurent Robert swung in a free kick from the left.

Andy Johnson was the first player in referee Neale Barry's notebook when he was punished for encroachment at a set piece, although the additional 10-yard advantage did little to aid Robert's effort.

Shortly after, Ameobi came close with a first-time left-footed effort from a quickly taken throw-in before The Baggies broke down towards the other end.

From the left-hand side, Robert Earnshaw found Ronnie Wallwork outside the box, however, his sweetly struck effort was superbly saved down low by Shay Given.

French youngster Charles N'Zogbia, who was making his first start for Newcastle, was looking lively on his full debut and forced Neil Clement into a last ditch tackle after bursting into the box.

Ameobi then teed up Bowyer, who saw his low drive palmed onto the base of the post, while Hoult picked himself up quickly to save Robert's rebound.

Olivier Bernard made himself unpopular with the home fans after going down under little contact from Martin Albrechtsen in the penalty area, but to the Frenchman's credit, he got up and played on.

West Brom had the last chance of the half, however, but Nwankwo Kanu was unable to get anything on his shot after Earnshaw burst into the box and set up the chance.

The visitors continued to create the better chances after the interval, but firstly, Kieron Dyer was unable to produce a final ball following an excellent pass from Bramble while Robert opted to shoot from a tight angle when a cross looked a better option.

West Brom created their best chance on 55 minutes, but after shrugging off the attentions of Aaron Hughes, Geoff Horsfield could only find Given in Newcastle's goal with his shot.

The lively N'Zogbia created an opening for Bowyer just after the hour mark, but Paul Robinson came out quickly to close down the midfielder on the edge of the box and blocked his shot.

Given was again called into action shortly after, but Earnshaw's volley at the back post was straight at the Republic of Ireland international following a cross from the left.

Substitute James Milner made an immediate impact after replacing N'Zogbia, but his superb back post cross was headed into the danger zone before being hooked clear by the home defence.

Despite a frantic finish from the home side, who were looking to snatch an all-important winner, the goal never arrived - leaving manager Bryan Robson with the record of never managing a winning team against Newcastle.

Official OPTA stats
  West Bromwich Albion Newcastle United 
Possession %    36% 64% 
Goals            0   0 
Shots on target  4   4 
Shots off target 2   6 
Blocked shots    3   5 
Corners          1   6 
Fouls           10   9 
Offsides         4   4 
Yellow cards     2   0 
Red cards        0   0

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
From the BBC...

West Brom missed a chance to move off the bottom of the Premiership as they were held at home by Newcastle United.
The Magpies began well as Titus Bramble headed at Russell Hoult and Lee Bowyer crashed a drive against the post before Laurent Robert's follow-up was saved.

Kanu poked wide as the Baggies began to threaten while Geoff Horsfield saw a shot brilliantly stopped by Shay Given.

Horsfield had a penalty appeal waved away and Robert fired over from 40 yards as both sides sought victory.

Baggies boss Bryan Robson - still waiting for his first win after 10 games now - responded to fans' calls for a bigger forward threat by playing three strikers from the start - Kanu, Rob Earnshaw and Horsfield.

The trio began well in tandem as Kanu nearly sent Horsfield through, but before long the hosts' defensive deficiences were badly exposed.

Robert sent in a free-kick from the left that found Bramble unmarked, but the defender could only head straight at Hoult from eight yards.

Moments later Charles N'Zogbia - in his first Magpies' start - found Shola Ameobi with a cross and his downward header was met by Bowyer, who could only volley over.

After Ameobi forced a low save from Hoult, the Baggies began to get on the ball more and they frustrated Newcastle's midfield by denying them possession.

Ronnie Wallwork sent in a fizzing shot that Given fumbled and the ball was cleared only to Paul Robinson, who sent in a fine cross that Kanu headed wide.

But Newcastle hit back and Bowyer's 30-yard effort came back off the post to Robert, who was denied at the near post by a terrific Hoult stop.

West Brom's best chance of the half fell in the dying stages, the ball arriving at Kanu's feet 10 yards out only for the Nigerian to weakly poke his effort wide of Given's goal.

If Newcastle felt unlucky not to be ahead going into the break it could have got worse straight after, as the home crowd urged their side to show more of an attacking threat.

Horsfield was put through on the inside right channel but when it looked as though the big striker would open the scoring, Given stuck out a hand to pull off a stunning save to keep the scores level.

Soon after, Horsfield cut in from the left and appeared to be caught from behind by Bowyer, the Baggies' penalty claims waved away by referee Neale Barry.

After Robert had wasted a great opening down the Newcastle left, West Brom created another good chance, Robinson crossing for Rob Earnshaw to acrobatically volley at Given.

As the clock ticked down both sides appeared to tire, victims of a hectic festive schedule and though West Brom finished the more lively neither could complain with a draw.


West Brom: Hoult, Albrechtsen, Purse, Clement, Robinson, Scimeca, Johnson, Wallwork, Earnshaw, Horsfield, Kanu (Gera 83).
Subs Not Used: Koumas, Contra, Gaardsoe, Kuszczak.

Booked: Johnson, Purse.

Newcastle: Given, Taylor, Bramble, Hughes, Bernard, N'Zogbia (Milner 76), Bowyer, Dyer, Jenas, Robert, Ameobi.
Subs Not Used: Andrew O'Brien, Ambrose, Brittain, Harper.

Att: 25,259.

Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).

Third Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
12,813 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
From Sky Sports...

West Bromwich Albion manager Bryan Robson is hoping his side can build on their point at home to Newcastle United.

The Baggies are now unbeaten in three matches following the draw against The Magpies, with the clean sheet being just their second of the season.

Robson is pleased his side were not beaten by Newcastle, but that the team need to start imposing themselves in the opposition's third of the pitch.

"At least, it's something for us to build on," said Robson to Sky Sports 1. "I'm pretty pleased with a point and we kept a clean sheet, so I'm happy.

"I was pleased with the work rate from the boys. We've got to build and go forward.

"It's okay being solid at the back, but we need to win games."

Robson did confirm there is money to spend in January and that he is hoping to bring in some new players during the transfer window.

"I can bring in some players," he added. "Hopefully, we can freshen things up."
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