As I walked out of the Hawthorns on Saturday evening with the echoes of the Great Escape theme tune in my ears for the first time this season, I couldn’t help think that someone was watching over Darren Moore’s Baggies as yet another incredible result had been achieved.
A little over two hours later, such thoughts were far from my mind as Southampton appeared to be heading to a victory that would confine us to Championship football next season, only for another fortunate stoppage time goal, this time from Everton’s Tom Davies, to keep the hopes alive for another few days.
Jake Livermore’s scrambled goal looked suspiciously off side when I watched it back on Match of the Day, but the linesman on the West Stand side had had a torrid afternoon, and even if he had seen it (it was probably difficult to pinpoint who played the ball forward), I doubt he would’ve had the heart to interrupt those celebrations!
And so we look next to Tuesday evening when Swansea play host to Southampton. If that does end up as a draw, we look to next Saturday when all Baggies fans will not just be cheering on Albion, but also Stoke and Man City hoping that the Champions finish off the season in style and a thumping victory to help that five goal swing that we need.
The odds remain stocked against Albion, with most bookies having them at 1/200 to go down, but no one expected it to go this far. My gut feel is that Southampton will beat Swansea on Tuesday, they seem to have some momentum and Swansea just look dreadful. But then who knows….
Back in 2005, I had been in a Manchester pub on the Saturday afternoon watching Soccer Saturday and, when we left to make our way to Old Trafford for the tea time fixture, Crystal Palace were leading Southampton heading into the dying minutes, a result that would see us relegated before we kicked off against United. As we walked up, the news filtered through that Danny Higginbotham had equalised in stoppage time and the Great Escape was back on!
The atmosphere in the away end that evening was incredible, although Giggs’s first half opener did dent it a little. But like yesterday’s match with Spurs, Albion were never out of the game and mid-way through the second half, Mark Halsey broke the cardinal rule for referees at Old Trafford by awarding a penalty to the visitors – Earnshaw scored it and, despite dropping to the bottom of the table thanks to Norwich’s victory over Birmingham City, the Baggies lived on to have a fighting chance on the final day.
After that match the table stood as follows:
|Premier League Relegation Battle – 7th May 2005|
Here are the full season by season comparisons.
|Comparison of Equivalent Fixtures^|
|2016/2017 Results||Tottenham Hotspur (H)||D||1-1|
|Crystal Palace (A)||W||1-0|
|2002/2003||03/05/2003||Blackburn Rovers (A)||D||1-1||Koumas|
|2004/2005||07/05/2005||Manchester United (A)||D||1-1||Earnshaw (pen)|
|2005/2006||01/05/2006||West Ham United (H)||L||0-1|
|2011/2012||06/05/2012||Bolton Wanderers (A)||D||2-2||Brunt, Morrison|
|2012/2013||12/05/2013||Norwich City (A)||L||0-4|
|2014/2015||18/05/2015||Chelsea (H)||W||3-0||Berahino (2, 1 pen), Brunt|
|2015/2016||07/05/2016||AFC Bournemouth (A)||D||1-1||Rondón|
|2016/2017||16/05/2017||Manchester City (A)||L||1-3||Robson-Kanu|
|2017/2018||05/05/2018||Tottenham Hotspur (H)||W||1-0||Livermore|
|2002/2003||11/05/2003||Newcastle United (H)||D||2-2||Dobie (2)|
|2004/2005||15/05/2005||Portsmouth (H)||W||2-0||Horsfield, Richardson|
|2005/2006||07/05/2006||Everton (A)||D||2-2||Gera, Martinez|
|2008/2009||24/05/2009||Blackburn Rovers (A)||D||0-0|
|2010/2011||22/05/2011||Newcastle United (A)||D||3-3||Tchoyi (3)|
|2011/2012||14/05/2012||Arsenal (H)||L||2-3||Long, Dorrans|
|2012/2013||19/05/2013||Manchester United (H)||D||5-5||Morrison, Lukaku (3), Mulumbu|
|2013/2014||11/05/2014||Stoke City (H)||L||1-2||Sessègnon|
|2016/2017||21/05/2017||Swansea City (A)||L||1-2||Evans|
|2017/2018||13/05/2018||Crystal Palace (A)|
* Positions are recorded as Albion’s position in the Premier League table after all fixtures for that day have been completed.
^ Fixtures against promoted clubs are compared against fixtures against the relegated clubs from last season with the club finishing 1st in the Championship compared against the club finishing 18th in the Premier League, 2nd compared with 19th and the play-off winners compared against the club who finished bottom.