Moore brings light re­lief to Al­bion

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Football - Jon Cul­ley at the Hawthorns

With Dar­ren Moore at the helm af­ter Alan Pardew’s exit, West Bromwich Al­bion ended a run of eight con­sec­u­tive de­feats and pos­si­bly de­served more than a point against a Swansea side whose per­for­mance strangely lacked am­bi­tion.

Swansea are on the brink of mak­ing them­selves safe – a sce­nario that seemed highly un­likely when Car­los Car­val­hal took over in De­cem­ber. Yet de­spite Al­bion’s poor run of form they seemed fear­ful of break­ing into at­tack in case they gave the ball away.

Only when Jay Ro­driguez raised the prospect of a rare win for the home side, by scor­ing early in the sec­ond half from a poorly de­fended cross – ar­guably a goal that might have been ruled out for a hand­ball in the build-up – did Swansea come to life.

“I think that was a con­se­quence of the last two games, against Tot­ten­ham and Manch­ester United, when we played a lot of the time with­out the ball,” Car­val­hal said. “We have six games left, four at home, and the next time we will play more like we did when we con­ceded the goal. To­day was not the way we play.”

Nonethe­less, af­ter 100 days in charge the Por­tuguese has a record of 19 points from 12 matches and they may need no more than five or six more to be safe.

Sur­vival is prob­a­bly a fan­ci­ful tar­get for Al­bion now, al­though first-team coach Moore, a pop­u­lar fig­ure within the dress­ing room and on the ter­races, de­clined to talk about the pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing the man to plot their re­turn should they start next sea­son in the Cham­pi­onship. In­deed, he does not want to dis­cuss tak­ing the man­ager’s job, which­ever di­vi­sion they are in.

“I have the qual­i­fi­ca­tions to the job but my ti­tle is first-team coach and I en­joy the job,” he said.

“The crowd cre­ated a great at­mos­phere and I was proud to be in the tech­ni­cal area, rep­re­sent­ing the club. I am just think­ing game by game, there is no time to worry about the job long-term.

“I was re­ally pleased with how the play­ers re­sponded. It was good to see the things we worked on be­ing ex­e­cuted on the pitch.”

Nonethe­less, he would have been dis­ap­pointed with the man­ner of Swansea’s equaliser, con­ceded from a need­lessly con­ceded corner headed home by a poorly marked Tammy Abra­ham with 15 min­utes left.

“I will look at it but I refuse to be dis­ap­pointed about it be­cause of the re­sponse of the play­ers when they con­ceded,” he said. “They took con­trol again and showed a lot of com­po­sure and re­silience and that brought a warmth to me.”

With only five matches re­main­ing and a 10-point gap to over­haul, how­ever, such mo­ments are likely to be fleet­ing con­so­la­tion. And given the num­ber of play­ers com­ing to the end of con­tracts or with rel­e­ga­tion re­lease clauses they can trig­ger, who­ever is in charge next year faces a ma­jor re­build. West Brom (4-1-4-2) Fos­ter 7; Nyom 7, Daw­son 7, Hegazi 7, Gibbs 6; Brunt 6; Phillips 7, Livermore 6, Ro­driguez 8 (Krychowiak 83), McClean 6; Ron­don 6. Subs My­hill (g), Ya­cob, Burke, McAu­ley, Harper, Leto. Booked Brunt, Phillips, McClean. Swansea City (3-4-3): Fabi­an­ski 7; Van der Hoorn 6 (Bartley h-t), Fer­nan­dez 6, Paw­son 7; Naughton 6, King 6 (Dyer 61), Car­roll 7, Ols­son 6; Ayew 7 (Ki Sung-yueng 85), Abra­ham 8, Clu­cas 6. Subs Mul­der (g), Nars­ingh, Rout­ledge, Roberts. Booked Clu­cas, Bartley. Ref­eree Roger East (Wilt­shire).

Late rally: Tammy Abra­ham heads home Swansea’s equaliser with 15 min­utes to go af­ter it had looked as if West Brom would end their bar­ren run with a much­needed vic­tory

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