Tag Archives: mcauley

Rafa Benitez press conference: Chelsea manager defiant

Rafa responds! Defiant Benitez insists he wants the fans to back him and the team

: West Brom 1 Chelsea 0 (Gareth McAuley, 82)

The Portuguese was supposed to be given the freedom to overhaul an ageing squad, but with a place in the top four and Champions League football slipping from Chelsea's grasp, Villas-Boas was given his marching orders in early spring. Di Matteo was brought in and delivered the FA Cup and Champions League trophies.

ROBERTO DI MATTEO

November 17, 2012: West Brom 2 Chelsea 1 (Shane Long, 10, Peter Odemwingie 50; Eden Hazard 39)

After leading Chelsea to a first Champions League title while interim boss, the Italian's permanent appointment was short-lived. A 2-1 loss at the Hawthorns, the team's first away defeat of the league season, was followed by a European defeat at Juventus which sealed Di Matteo's fate and saw Benitez drafted in.

Rafael Benitez crisis: Chelsea had Mourinho, Rodgers, Villas-Boas and Clarke – now they are full of resentment

Chelsea old boys Mourinho, AVB, Clarke and Rodgers are full of simmering resentment… is it any surprise after working at this club

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Roberto Di Matteo (Mar 2012-Nov 2012)
Rafa Benitez (Nov 2012- )

It was no surprise the combustible Villas-Boas and Mourinho fell out, but more damagingly Clarke and Rodgers now have one of the frostiest relationships in the game.

Clarke played a pivotal role in getting Rodgers’ career started at Stamford Bridge and was torn apart by the way he was treated by the Ulsterman when their paths crossed briefly again at Liverpool last summer.

Clarke, regarded as one of football’s nice guys, had put his own reputation on the line to get Rodgers a job at Chelsea.

Brendan Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers

Now and then: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was once youth and reserve-team boss at Chelsea

Can West Brom's grim reapers Bag another Chelsea manager's scalp

Rafael Benitez will not be happy to see Chelsea's next opponents are West Bromwich Albion – the grim reapers of Blues bosses.

The Baggies have hammered the final nail into the coffin of Benitez's two predecessors in the Stamford Bridge hotseat, Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo.

Villas-Boas' reign was ended after just eight torrid months following a dismal 1-0 defeat at West Brom in March 2012, in which Gareth McAuley struck the winner.

Chelsea

And Di Matteo saw his reign terminated, despite winning the Champions League just six months before, after an unacceptable run of results culminated in a 2-1 defeat at The Hawthorns in November last year.

Shane Long and Peter Odemwingie scored the goals as the Italian's fate was sealed even before the Champions League defeat against Juventus three days later.

Yet when Rodgers arrived on Merseyside
to succeed Kenny Dalglish as manager, Clarke – the club’s
assistant manager – learned about his dismissal with a phone call from
the club’s human resources department, rather than from Rodgers himself.

Fortunately for Clarke, he has been able to rebuild impressively his shattered career at West Brom this season with the club standing seventh in the Premier League, and is too polite to follow Benitez’s example and go public with his grievances.

But as he walks out at Stamford Bridge this weekend, he’ll undoubtedly cast his mind back to 2004 when he was Mourinho’s assistant manager at Chelsea and Rodgers an unknown 31-year-old whose playing career had been cut short by injury.

When a vacancy came up as youth-team manager, Chelsea playing idol Gus Poyet was the hot favourite until Clarke remembered the keen young coach he’d met on a pro-licence course and recommended him to Roman Abramovich.

The rest, as they say, is history. Rodgers learned avidly under Mourinho and used four years at Chelsea as a springboard for his own managerial career, at Watford, Reading, Swansea and currently at Liverpool.

In all that time, Clarke felt his early assistance went unappreciated.

‘Even at Liverpool, Brendan never spoke to him through the process of Steve leaving his job. They knew each other well but he left it to another department to sort it out,’ confirmed a friend.

‘The thing that hurts most is he never got a thank you. It’s an understatement to say he was badly treated.’

Rafa Benitez will know how he feels. It must be a Chelsea thing.

CHELSEA IN 2007: WHEN ROMAN COULDN’T MOVE FOR MANAGERS…

Glory days: Mourinho and Clarke formed a strong bond which brought huge success to Chelsea

Glory days: Mourinho and Clarke formed a strong bond which brought huge success to Chelsea

JOSE MOURINHO (manager)
The Special One led Chelsea to their
first title since 1955 but was sacked after a Champions League draw against
Rosenborg. Now in charge of Real Madrid but tipped for a return.

STEVE CLARKE (assistant manager)
A former Chelsea player, he was able
to teach Mourinho all about the club’s history and tradition. After
being a long-time No 2, will be back at the Bridge this weekend as West
Brom manager.

BRENDAN RODGERS (reserve-team manager)
Clarke gave him a reference to become
Chelsea’s youth-team manager and he was promoted to the reserves. Now in
his fourth managerial job, at Liverpool.

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS (scout and cheerleader)
Mourinho’s close friend from Portugal,
AVB was often a hot-headed figure seen on the Chelsea bench. Now
reinvented himself as a great thinker, he failed as Chelsea manager but
doing well at Spurs‬.

Jonny Evans groin injury keeps him out of Northern Ireland World Cup qualifier

Groin injury for Man United defender Evans is blow for Northern Ireland

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UPDATED:

22:58 GMT, 10 November 2012

Northern Ireland have lost influential defender Jonny Evans for the World Cup 2014 qualifier against Azerbaijan on Wednesday, with Andy Little and Alex Bruce also ruled out through injury.

While Little (foot) and Bruce (knee) would be unlikely to make the starting XI for the Group F clash, Evans (groin) is one of Michael O'Neill's most important players and was one of the top performers in the side's memorable 1-1 draw in Portugal last month.

O'Neill has responded to the withdrawals by adding uncapped Liverpool teenager Ryan McLaughlin and Burnley's Danny Lafferty to his squad.

Big miss: Jonny Evans (right) will not be fit for Northern Ireland's qualifier

Big miss: Jonny Evans (right) will not be fit for Northern Ireland's qualifier

Manchester United centre-back Evans had a modest turnout record in the latter stages of Nigel Worthington's reign but has been a regular since O'Neill took over at the turn of the year, even playing despite carrying a knock against Luxembourg in September.

His withdrawal is mitigated somewhat by the presence of West Brom's Gareth McAuley in the squad.

McAuley was suspended for the Portugal match but should now slot back into the centre of defence, where Craig Cathcart and Aaron Hughes are also available.

Little made a fine start to the season with Rangers, but he has now pulled out of successive Northern Ireland squads due to fitness issues.

Bruce, pencilled in to offer cover at right-back, has also dropped out of the last two parties.

McLaughlin, a highly-rated 18-year-old who has yet to make his senior Liverpool debut, will now deputise at right-back having been promoted from the Under-21 side to face England on Tuesday.

Tussle: Evans featured in the week against Braga

Tussle: Evans featured in the week against Braga

Left-back Lafferty is not a like-for-like replacement for any of the injured players but with Cathcart now needed in the centre, he will vie with Ryan McGivern for a starting spot.

Derby striker Jamie Ward (hamstring) was the first player to be withdrawn from O'Neill's 24-man panel and was yesterday replaced by Inverness' Billy McKay.

Wigan 1 West Brom 2: Match report

Wigan 1 West Brom 2: Morrison's happy return as Baggies trouser first away win

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UPDATED:

17:09 GMT, 10 November 2012

James Morrison came back from injury to set up West Brom's first away win of the Barclays Premier League season as his powerful header helped the visitors sink Wigan at the DW Stadium.

Scotland midfielder Morrison was forced to miss the Baggies' win over Southampton on Monday night, due to a hamstring problem, but he returned to help inspire Steve Clarke's men to three points which keeps them firmly rooted in the league's top six.

Cheers: West Brom's James Morrison celebrates the opener

Cheers: West Brom's James Morrison celebrates the opener

MATCH FACTS

WIGAN: Al Habsi, Ramis, Caldwell (Stam 63), Figueroa, Boyce, McCarthy, Watson (Gomez 84), Beausejour, Kone, Di Santo (Boselli 84), Maloney. Subs not used: Pollitt, Jones McManman, Fyvie.

Goals: Kone 44

Booked: McCarthy

WEST BROM: Myhill, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob, Lukaku (Rosenberg 85), Morrison (Gera 67), Brunt, Long (Odemwingie 67). Subs not used: Daniels, Popov, Dorrans, Tamas

Goals: Morrison, Caldwell (og, 43)

Booked: Yacob, Lukaku, Jones, Gera

Referee: N Swarbrick

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

Morrison met a cross from Chris Brunt
to head an unstoppable opener past Ali Al Habsi, before a Gary Caldwell
own goal put the Baggies in command.

Arouna Kone reduced the deficit and the Latics piled on the pressure but could not claim a point.

The visitors started with Peter
Odemwingie on the bench despite his two-goal haul against Southampton,
but his replacement Romelu Lukaku quickly made his presence felt with a
surging forward run.

Maynor Figueroa drilled a low
long-range shot just wide for the home side in the fifth minute and
James McCarthy's persistence also fashioned an early chance after he
robbed Claudio Yacob and pressed forward.

And it took Baggies goalkeeper Boaz
Myhill – in for his first senior Baggies game in 21 months due to injury
to Ben Foster – nine minutes to prove worthy of his call-up as he
pulled off a superb save to deny Ben Watson.

The visitors slowly began to find
their rhythm, with the alert Al Habsi racing from his goal to deny
Lukaku, as the home side, who continued to shade possession in an open
game, were too often let down by a stray final ball.

Heading home: Morrison (centre) climbs to nod West Brom in front

Heading home: Morrison (centre) climbs to nod West Brom in front

More scrappy play from the hosts
almost cost them dear after 26 minutes when indecision in defence forced
Al Habsi to once again come out and save from Morrison then dive on the
loose ball as Lukaku waited to pounce.

But there was nothing scrappy about
the opener on the half-hour as Brunt flung in a precise cross from wide
on the left and Morrison aimed his magnificent header past Al Habsi from
the edge of the six-yard box.

Heads we win: Morrison leaves Ali Al Habsi with no chance

Heads we win: Morrison leaves Ali Al Habsi with no chance

And the visitors almost increased
their lead seven minutes later when Billy Jones cut in from the right
and unleashed a fierce left-footed drive which flashed just wide of the
busy Al Habsi's left-hand post.

That seemingly inevitable second
goal duly arrived after 43 minutes when Jones' effort from a tight angle
was deflected into his own net by Wigan captain Caldwell – but less
than a minute later Kone pulled one back when he poked home Beausejour's
cross.

Catch me if you can: Wigan's James McCarhty closes on Romelu Lukaku (left)

Catch me if you can: Wigan's James McCarhty closes on Romelu Lukaku (left)

Beausejour had the first chance of
the second half when he hit a shot from the left side of the box high
over Myhill's bar after the goalkeeper had parried from Watson, then
Caldwell headed just wide as the home side enjoyed a significant spell
of pressure.

The Baggies should have extended
their lead in the 56th minute when Lukaku lashed a shot on the turn
which was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Al Habsi at point-blank
range.

Remembering the fallen: Roberto Martinez (right) and West Brom's Steve Clarke sport their poppies

Remembering the fallen: Roberto Martinez (right) and West Brom's Steve Clarke sport their poppies

Shaun Maloney should have done better
for Wigan when he was teed up by a pass from Franco Di Santo in the
middle of the box in the 72nd minute, but blazed his shot well over the
bar.

Not this time: Romelu Lukaku (left) is thwarted by Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi

Not this time: Romelu Lukaku (left) is thwarted by Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi

Then a chance for Di Santo came to
nothing in the 80th minute when he got his head on a Beausejour cross
from the left but could only direct the ball against team-mate Kone,
from whom it deflected onto the roof of the net.

Jones brings groans: Billy Jones celebrates after his cross was turned in for the winner

Jones brings groans: Billy Jones celebrates after his cross was turned in for the winner

Last laugh: Lukaku celebrates after Gary Caldwell turned a cross into his own net

Last laugh: Lukaku celebrates after Gary Caldwell turned a cross into his own net

West Brom 2 Southampton 0: Peter Odemwingie scores twice

West Brom 2 Southampton 0: Odemwingie double piles pressure on Adkins

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UPDATED:

21:52 GMT, 5 November 2012

Peter Odemwingie struck twice to send West Brom up into fifth in the Premier League as Southampton remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

The result piles even more pressure on Saints boss Nigel Adkins, who's side have now won just one of their 10 games this season and sit five points adrift of safety.

Peter the Great: Odemwingie was the man of the hour for West Brom

Peter the Great: Odemwingie was the man of the hour for West Brom

MATCH FACTS

West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob, Odemwingie (Fortune 83), Gera, Dorrans (Brunt 65), Long (Lukaku 71).

Subs not used: Myhill, Popov, Rosenberg, Tamas.

Booked: Jones.

Goals: Odemwingie 36, 60.

Southampton: Gazzaniga, Clyne, Fonte, Yoshida, Fox (Shaw 82), Schneiderlin, Steven Davis, Ramirez (Mayuka 76), Lallana, Rodriguez (Do Prado 76), Lambert.

Subs not used: Kelvin Davis, Hooiveld, Ward-Prowse, Puncheon.

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Latest Premier League table and results

More to follow…

High hopes: Southampton keeper Gazzaniga rises to clear a cross

High hopes: Southampton keeper Gazzaniga rises to clear a cross

Eyes on the ball: Jay Rodriguez (left) competes with Youssuf Mulumbu

Eyes on the ball: Jay Rodriguez (left) competes with Youssuf Mulumbu

Swooping to pounce: Odemwingie heads home the second

Swooping to pounce: Odemwingie heads home the second

Under pressure: Adkins could be heading for the exit door at St Mary's

Under pressure: Adkins could be heading for the exit door at St Mary's

Midfield tussle: Morgan Schneiderlin (left) is closed down by West Brom's Argentine midfielder Claudio Yacob

Midfield tussle: Morgan Schneiderlin (left) is closed down by West Brom's Argentine midfielder Claudio Yacob

Boing, boing: The Baggies are up to fifth

Boing, boing: The Baggies are up to fifth

Boing, boing: The Baggies are up to fifth

Aston Villa v West Brom LIVE Premier League action

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Aston Villa v West Brom – as it happens from Villa Park

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UPDATED:

14:47 GMT, 30 September 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Aston Villa host Midlands rivals West Brom at Villa Park in Sunday's only match. Both sides have new managers this season but there has been a contrast in how they have enjoyed the opening few weeks.

Paul Lambert has struggled to get his side firing but Steve Clarke has had no such trouble. Who will emerge on top today Kick-off is at 4pm.

Sportsmail's Alex Horlock takes you through all the action at Villa Park.

MATCH FACTS

Aston Villa: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, Albrighton, Holman, El Ahmadi, Delph, Agbonlahor, Benteke.

Subs not used: Given, Bent, N'Zogbia, Westwood, Bannan, Weimann, Lichaj.

West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Popov, Morrison, Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt, Gera, Long.

Subs not used: Luke Daniels, Rosenberg, El Ghanassy, Dorrans, Lukaku, Tamas, Fortune.

15.44: Villa have failed to beat their Midlands rival in the last three meetings. BUT, until last October, West Brom had not won at Villa for 32 years.

I'm struggling to predict this one, but I am leaning towards a West Brom win given the slick attacking football Clarke has installed since his arrival.

Don't worry though Villa fans, I've been wrong plenty of times before…

15.40: It's Lambert v Clarke. Both these bosses have gone some way to winning over their respective fans already, but a victory here will surely catapult them into the 'fans' favourite' category.

15.35: The full teams are in. Check the green box at the side!

Interest selections from both managers up front.

Paul lambert has opted to leave Darren Bent on the bench in place of Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke.

Steve Clarke has dropped Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku after some bullish performances for Shane Long.

Bold moves, people. Will they pay off

15.30: With yesterday's Premier League action yielding an exceptional goal haul, I'm hoping this one can add a few more to that tally.

West Brom have had an excellent start to the season, whereas Villa have looked a little erratic.

Mind you, they did see off the champions Manchester City in the Capital One Cup in midweek. This one could go either way!

15.25: Good afternoon everyone, and thanks for joining us for our coverage of what is sure to be a hotly contested Midlands derby.

First up, here's Aston Villa's starting XI: Guzan, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Bennett, El Ahmadi, Delph, Albrighton, Holman, Agbonlahor, Benteke.

West Bromwich's team to follow…

Ready Gabriel Agbonlahor starts up front for Aston Villa

Ready Gabriel Agbonlahor starts up front for Aston Villa

Fulham boss Martin Jol hails Dimitar Berbatov

Dimit he do well Jol hails Berbatov: He did more than he's ever done

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UPDATED:

17:42 GMT, 15 September 2012

Fulham boss Martin Jol sang the praises of Dimitar Berbatov following his starring role in the 3-0 victory over West Brom and is hopeful he can fill the goalscoring void left by the departure of Clint Dempsey.

Berbatov struck a brace on his home debut as Jol's side eased to a comfortable victory over a Baggies team reduced to 10 men in the first half when Peter Odemwingie was sent off for kicking Sascha Riether.

Tucked away: Dimitar Berbatov struck his second goal from the spot

Tucked away: Dimitar Berbatov struck his second goal from the spot

Match facts

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise, Duff (Smith 90), Sidwell, Baird, Kacaniklic (Kasami 84), Berbatov, Rodallega. Subs not used: Stockdale, Kelly, Karagounis, Briggs, Trotta.

Scorers: Berbatov 32, 45, Sidwell 89.

West Brom: Foster, Jones, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell, Mulumbu, Yacob (Rosenberg 76), Odemwingie, Morrison, Fortune (Lukaku 46), Long (Brunt 46). Subs not used: Myhill, Dorrans, Gera, Dawson.

Sent off: Odemwingie.

Referee: Roger East.

Attendance: 25,691.

The first goal saw the 31-year-old
take control of the ball and bend it inside Ben Foster's post, with the
second coming from a penalty at the end of the first half.

Steve Sidwell added the third in the
89th minute to hand Fulham their second win of the season. As well as
opening his goalscoring account for Fulham, Berbatov also contributed
from a defensive point of view and Jol was happy with his all-round
performance.

'I think he did more than he has ever
done before in his life,' the Dutchman said. 'He was at the back, he
was in midfield, he was up-front and he scored a good goal so I was
happy.

'We had a young bench and that is why I was so pleased with Dimitar.'

After losing top goalscorer Dempsey
to Tottenham in the final hours of the transfer window, Jol is now
hoping former Manchester United frontman Berbatov can become the club's
new talisman.

Easy: Berbatov sent the keeper the wrong way

Easy: Berbatov sent the keeper the wrong way

'That is a challenge for him,' he said. 'I think he scored 23 goals when I had him at Spurs.

'I'm sure that if he is fit then he will do what Clint Dempsey did for us.'

With Dempsey and Mousa Dembele now
both plying their trade at White Hart Lane and Bryan Ruiz, Kieran
Richardson and Mahamadou Diarra all missing through injury, Jol had to
name an unfamiliar midfield four.

Dimit he do well: Martin Jol had high praise for Dimitar Berbatov after his starring role against West Brom

Dimit he do well: Martin Jol had high praise for Dimitar Berbatov after his starring role against West Brom

But Jol was full of praise for the
players who came into his starting line-up and knows they have to
maintain a high level of performance to make up for the players who left
over the course of the summer.

He said: 'It was important because
we lost our best players and our top goalscorer from the last couple of
seasons, so we had to do something and create a new identity in
midfield.

Exquisite: Berbatov curls home his first

Exquisite: Berbatov curls home his first

'My whole midfield was new, my front-line was new, (we played) a different system.

'I still feel we have to work hard to
get the same quality as we had last year with Danny Murphy and Dembele.
It was one of the best midfields in England.

'I was really pleased they stepped up
a gear to satisfy us. We lost five midfield players and no-one came in
so I was very pleased with Bairdy (Chris Baird) and (Steve) Sidwell.'

West Brom head coach Steve Clarke
tasted his first league defeat in charge of the Baggies and bemoaned
their start to the game as the main reason behind the loss.

He said: 'I was disappointed with the
way we started the game. I thought we allowed Fulham to get too much
control in the game, we started slowly and suffered for that because we
lost a goal.

On song: The brilliant Bulgarian was near his effervescent best

On song: The brilliant Bulgarian was near his effervescent best

'The biggest disappointment in the first half was losing the second goal right on half-time.'

Clarke refused to use the dismissal
of Odemwingie as an excuse and was more content with how his side
performed after half-time.

'We are all human, everybody has got
emotions,' he said. 'He thought he had a free-kick against him, the red
mist obviously came down and he will take his punishment.

'He will get his three-game ban and
the club have got a disciplinary process we will go through, and we move
on. In football it happens, people get sent off.

Untouchable: West Brom could not contain Berbatov

Untouchable: West Brom could not contain Berbatov

Get out: Peter Odemwingie was sent off for violent conduct

Get out: Peter Odemwingie was sent off for violent conduct

'I was happier with the second-half
performance. I think we approached the game well second half and we
tried to cause a few problems which I think we succeeded in.

'We spoke at half-time and said if we
could make it 2-1 we could make it an uncomfortable afternoon for
Fulham, but it didn't work out like that.'

Clarke's 10 men held Fulham at bay
until Sidwell scored in the closing stages but it was goalkeeper Foster
who pulled off a string of superb saves to keep the scoreline
respectable.

Red card

Dismissal

Foolish: Odemwingie will regret his actions

The former England goalkeeper
completed a permanent move to the Hawthorns over the summer and Clarke
was pleased with the 29-year-old's performance.

He said: 'He made some good saves but you know when you are down to 10 men that the opposition will have chances against you.

'We spent a lot of time in the summer chasing Ben Foster because we know he is capable of making those types of saves.

'We know he is a top goalkeeper and we paid good money for him. Performances like that are what we expect from Ben Foster.'

Wrap up: Steve Sidwell (left) scored the third

Wrap up: Steve Sidwell (left) scored the third

Raring to go: It was a good afternoon for Fulham

Raring to go: It was a good afternoon for Fulham

Steve Clarke"s winning team talk for West Brom

Clarke learns from the best as team talk does the job for West Brom

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UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 2 September 2012

Steve Clarke has been an interested spectator in plenty of top dressing rooms.

Jose Mourinho, Kenny Dalglish, Ruud Gullit and Gianfranco Zola have all said their piece while the assistant has deferred to the main man.

But the West Bromwich head coach now appears to have found his own voice, presiding over the club's best start since Ron Atkinson's class of 1978.

Man with a plan: Steve Clarke's West Brom side took apart Everton on Saturday

Man with a plan: Steve Clarke's West Brom side took apart Everton on Saturday

Shane Long, who tapped in Peter Odemwingie's low cross for the opener, gave an insight into Clarke's managerial methods when he said: 'Before each match, he has said a few words of wisdom.

'Apart from that he's quiet, so when he does raise his voice, you listen.'

Odemwingie added: 'It's mostly about confidence and belief. About being strong and fearless.'

Get in! Shane Long scored his first goal of the season against the Toffees

Get in! Shane Long scored his first goal of the season against the Toffees

Struggle: Marouane Fellaini could not make an impact on the game at the Hawthorns

Struggle: Marouane Fellaini could not make an impact on the game at the Hawthorns

This was always likely to be a tight affair, but there was a gripe from Everton that Marouane Fellaini had not been protected by referee Jon Moss.

'People are going to try to stop him playing,' said Leon Osman. 'Usually we have found ways round it, but apart from the first half an hour, we couldn't really operate.'

Chris Brunt laid on the second for Gareth McAuley eight minutes from time.

Tottenham 1 West Brom 1 – match report

Tottenham 1 West Brom 1: Morrison keeps the Baggies bouncing as AVB's home debut falls flat

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UPDATED:

15:58 GMT, 25 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

James Morrison struck in stoppage time to earn West Brom a point and spoil the party on Andre Villas-Boas' first game at White Hart Lane as Tottenham manager.

The Baggies midfielder swept home from inside the area after a series of almighty goal-mouth scrambles that saw the crossbar and a couple of lucky lunges save the day for the hosts.

A heavily-deflected long-range effort from Benoit Assou-Ekotto earlier in the second-half looked to secured all three points.

Spurs' goal had, in truth, led a charmed life until that point, with this season's oldest player in the Premier League, Brad Friedel, making two brilliant saves to keep his side in the match.

Earlier, Jermain Defoe saw an effort chalked off for offside midway through the second period, a 45-minute spell which was a vast improvement on the first.

More to follow…

Thunderbolt: Benoit Assou-Ekotto thought he'd won it for Tottenham with a long-range strike

Thunderbolt: Benoit Assou-Ekotto thought he'd won it for Tottenham with a long-range strike

Thunderbolt: Benoit Assou-Ekotto thought he'd won it for Tottenham with a long-range strike

MATCH FACTS

TOTTENHAM: Friedel; Walker, Vertonghen, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Livermore, Sandro, Van der Vaart, Bale; Defoe. Subs not used: Cudicini, Naughton, Caulker, Jenas, Sigurdsson, Townsend, Adebayor

WEST BROM: Foster; Reid, Olsson, Ridgewell, McAuley; Yacob, Morrison, Dorrans, Mulumbu; Long, Fortune. Subs not used: Myhill, Dawson, Jones, Brunt, Rosenberg, Lukaku, Gera

.

Welcome to the Lane: Tottenham paraded their new signings, and manager, before the match

Welcome to the Lane: Tottenham paraded their new signings, and manager, before the match

.

Frustrations: Aaron Lennon and Rafael van der Vaart struggled to influence the game

Frustrations: Rafael van der Vaart was handed a start but was unable to influence the game

Frustrations: Aaron Lennon and Rafael van der Vaart struggled to influence the game

.

Tough customer: Striker Shane Long gave Jan Vertonghen plenty to think about

Tough customer: Striker Shane Long gave Jan Vertonghen plenty to think about

.

Frustrations: For the most part, Tottenham were below par and left looking for inspiration

Frustrations: For the most part, Tottenham were below par and left looking for inspiration

Frustrations: For the most part, Tottenham were below par and left looking for inspiration

.

Doing his bit: Kyle Walker tried, as always, to inject a bit of energy into the attack

Doing his bit: Kyle Walker tried, as always, to inject a bit of energy into the attack

Doing his bit: Kyle Walker tried, as always, to inject a bit of energy into the attack

.

Head boy: Gareth Bale's slow start to the season continued with another subdued display

Head boy: Gareth Bale's slow start to the season continued with another subdued display

.

Close, but no cigar: Jermain Defoe had an effort chalked off for offside in the second half

Close, but no cigar: Jermain Defoe had an effort chalked off for offside in the second half

Northern Ireland 3 Finland 3 match report: Martin Paterson hits late penalty

Northern Ireland 3 Finland 3: Late penalty earns O'Neill fraught draw

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UPDATED:

23:27 GMT, 15 August 2012

Martin Paterson's 84th-minute penalty earned Northern Ireland an entertaining draw in a see-saw friendly encounter against Finland at Windsor Park.

Having failed to score in both of manager Michael O'Neill's previous matches, the goals finally came tonight – Shane Ferguson and Paterson opening their international accounts and the returning Kyle Lafferty underlining his importance with his ninth senior strike.

Northern Ireland were 2-0 ahead after a bright start but two goals in as many minutes from Tim Sparv and Teemu Pukki, followed by an unstoppable second-half free-kick from Perparim Hetemaj, left them needing Paterson's late intervention.

Yes: Paterson

On target: Martin Paterson levels from the penalty spot

Match facts

Northern Ireland: Carroll (Camp 46), Hodson (Norwood 84), Cathcart, McAuley, McGivern, Brunt (Ward 46), Baird, Davis, Ferguson (Carson 84), Shiels, Kyle Lafferty (Paterson 63). Subs not used: McPake, Little, Danny Lafferty, Clingan, Grigg, Mannus.

Scorers: Ferguson 7, Lafferty 19, Paterson (pen) 84.

Finland: Maenpaa, Uronen, Toivio, Arkivuo, Moisander, Roman Eremenko, Hamalainen (Kolehmainen 69), Sparv, Alexei Eremenko (Hetemaj 69), Pukki (Riski 46), Kuqi (Sjolund 84). Subs not used: Sillanpaaa, Ojala, Vayrynen, Furuholm, Halsti, Porokara.

Scorers: Sparv 22, Pukki 24, Hetemaj 78.

Referee: Richard Liesveld (Holland).

Attendance: 9,575.

Northern Ireland were playing for the first time in a new home kit bearing a design based on their 1980s glory days.

Expectations are a little lower than that now, but after O'Neill's tenure began with 3-0 and 6-0 defeats by Norway and Holland something positive was required here.

Another nod to the past came in the form of Olympiacos goalkeeper Roy Carroll, recalled in place of Lee Camp for his first start in six years.

Elsewhere, Chris Baird, Chris Brunt and Lafferty made their first appearances for O'Neill having previously been unavailable.

Finland put together the first coherent move of the match, Roman and Alexei Eremenko linking well in midfield but unable to produce a final ball.

Northern Ireland's first chance resulted in the opener after seven minutes.

Rangers'
Dean Shiels, attempting to prove he can combine life in the basement of
Scottish football with a World Cup qualifying campaign, battled for the
ball down the right channel and saw his deflected pass across goal fall
for Ferguson.

Level pegging: Roy Carroll is livid after Teemu Pukki hit Finland's second

Level pegging: Roy Carroll is livid after Teemu Pukki hit Finland's second

The ball
took a bounce off the Newcastle man, who then showed superb technique
to lash home a powerful left-footed shot at the near post.

O'Neill, having previously drawn two blanks, looked visibly relieved in the technical area.
Finland almost produced a swift response but Craig Cathcart made a fine late challenge to dispossess Pukki.

With 19 minutes gone, the hosts were two ahead through Lafferty.

Again
Shiels played his part, taking down Lee Hodson's lofted ball with the
outside of his boot before whipping a cross into the six-yard area.

They thought they'd won: Finland players celebrate with Perparim Hetemaj after he scores their third

They thought they'd won: Finland players celebrate with Perparim Hetemaj after he scores their third

Lafferty battled to get the first touch and bundled over the line under pressure from Joona Toivio.
This
time Finland were able to respond in kind, taking just three minutes
before Kari Arkivuo's cross was expertly headed home by a straining
Sparv.

Having pulled one back, the visitors drew level just two minutes later.

This
time Northern Ireland were entirely to blame, Roman Eremenko doing the
prompting and Brunt taking a loose ball on his chest before casually
rolling the ball back into his own penalty area.

The back four were caught cold, leaving the waiting Pukki alone to roll his shot past Carroll via the post.

The quickfire double lifted the Finns who dictated the pace until the interval.

Njazi
Kuqi was closest to adding to the scoring, curling right-footed just
past the far post, while Brunt's speculative cross-shot was his side's
best riposte.

O'Neill made two changes at the interval, Camp on for Carroll and Derby's Jamie Ward earning a second cap in place of Brunt.

Hard fought: Joona Toivio vies with Kyle Lafferty

Hard fought: Joona Toivio vies with Kyle Lafferty

Northern
Ireland nearly began the second half with a goal, Ryan McGivern
galloping down the left flank and picking out Shiels, who took a touch
before pushing his shot across the face of goal.

The
game continued to produce chances, Finland keeper Niki Maenpaa
mis-kicking a hopeful long ball from Ward under pressure from Lafferty.

The Sion striker was first to react and quickly pulled the ball back for the onrushing Shiels, whose shot was smothered.

At
the other end Toivio's 63rd-minute header may have struck a hand before
being cleared by Ward on the post but Finland's penalty appeals were
not upheld.

Substitute
Riku Riski was close to putting his side in front for the first time in
the 70th minute when he deftly lifted Toni Kolehmainen's pass beyond
Camp and towards goal.

Fortunately for the hosts, Gareth McAuley was chasing back and able to flick the ball back away from danger.

Eight
minutes later Finland did find their third, McGivern penalised for a
foul 20 yards out and Hetemaj sending a rocket of a free-kick in off the
upright.

The late penalty rescued O'Neill's side, Steven Davis surging towards the area and teeing up substitute Paterson.

The Burnley man went to ground without too much resistance but earned the penalty against Toivio nonetheless.

He took the spot-kick himself, drilling hard and low for his first goal in 14 caps.