The West Bromwich Albion chairman, Jeremy Peace, yesterday ended speculation that Glenn Hoddle would succeed Gary Megson as manager at the Hawthorns: "Glenn Hoddle has not been offered the job of manager... and it will not be offered to him." Hoddle, who was not at yesterday's game, has been out of work since Tottenham sacked him in September last year; he had said he wanted to help the men from the Hawthorns out of their predicament near the foot of the Premiership. An Albion spokesman added that no further statement would be made until the new managerial appointment is announced.
Earlier, Robert Earnshaw chose exactly the right moment to open his personal account for West Brom. However, while the Welsh international's two goals here were gratefully received by his team-mates, he would have left the ground bemoaning the fact he missed a third, by fractions, which would have guaranteed victory. It proved costly as the visitors squandered their advantage three minutes from time when Anders Svensson's shot was deflected past Russell Hoult by his team-mate Paul Robinson.
It could have been worse for West Brom. Rory Delap, the hero of Saints' draw with Arsenal last week, could have won the match in the final seconds. Running on to Kevin Phillips's pass, the midfielder reached the penalty box only to scuff his shot.
Defeat would have been harsh on the Baggies, who led for most of the game. Still, they would have been further from relegation danger if they had managed to hold on here, and their caretaker-manager, Frank Burrows, said after the game that it felt hard to "lose" to such a late goal - it was pointed out to him that his team had drawn, but his true feelings, perhaps, had been revealed.
As it was, Burrows' mood would have swung dramatically between despair and optimism in the space of just nine first-half minutes. With 28 minutes gone and just a Darren Kenton shot to show for their dominance, the Saints took the lead. Paul Telfer picked out Svensson, and from the far post the Swede tucked his header past Hoult.
A minute later and West Brom were level, in large part thanks to Antti Niemi. The Finnish international makes few mistakes but the goalkeeper was at fault here, as Earnshaw's header from Zoltan Gera's cross was underpowered but still beat him from 10 yards.
Shortly before the break and a revitalised West Brom, who have still won only once this season in the Premiership, went ahead. Jonathan Greening hit an innocuous cross that Andreas Jakobsson only cleared as far as Earnshaw, who, from 12 yards, suddenly had his second-ever Premiership goal eight minutes after his first.
However, Niemi atoned in part for his earlier mistake just four minutes before the break when he dived full-length to divert Gera's free-kick.
Trailing for so long, the onus was on the home side to push for an equaliser, which they achieved after surviving Earnshaw's missed overhead kick two minutes after the restart. With 20 minutes remaining they nearly levelled. Memories of his two headed goals last week presumably flooded through Delap's mind as a cross came in, but he sent his header over the crossbar from 10 yards out, meaning Robinson's misfortune levelled matters instead.
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