West Brom take Long way back to impress Ivanisevic

 

Click to follow
The Independent Online

West Bromwich Albion's reward for a hard-earned point at Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday was an audience with Goran Ivanisevic. The legendary Croat is a Baggies fan, and after he played at the AEGON Masters he rushed to Loftus Road to watch the game – his first West Brom match in the flesh – and afterwards he went into the away dressing-room.

"He spoke to all the players and went around shaking hands," revealed Roy Hodgson afterwards. "He was fixed up with a shirt with his name on. It's not big enough but he can frame it for his wall."

Ivanisevic, who has followed West Brom since being captivated by their 2004-5 survival season, saw them show the same instinct for recovery here to equalise with 10 minutes left: Shane Long tapped in Peter Odemwingie's cross, and Hodgson praised the Nigerian striker, whom he brought on as a substitute.

"I thought Peter started very slowly in the first five or 10 minutes but in the last 15 he got into his stride," Hodgson said. "It was an excellent bit of play for the goal."

Neil Warnock was understandably frustrated that his players failed to score a second, but believes they will improve. "We've always known that we're not quite ruthless enough but we've only been in the Premier League five minutes. We will get there," he said.

Rangers' goal came courtesy of Heidar Helguson – the former Watford striker's sixth in seven games – and Warnock said the Icelander's form may well slow his moves into the transfer market in January. "If you give me £5m to buy a striker he wouldn't have been as good as Helguson today so you've got to be a little bit careful. I see him as our Kevin Davies."

Comments