New faces and consistent start for Hughton’s men

Conor Goldson (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC)
Conor Goldson (Photograph: Paul Hazlewood, BHAFC)

Albion go into the home game with Blackburn Rovers sitting in third place.

Albion go into the home game with Blackburn Rovers sitting in third place in the Championship after three league games. Last Saturday’s excellent last-minute 2-1 win at Fulham was followed by a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night, Beram Kayal finding the target after just 17 seconds.

More than 3,500 Albion fans made the short trip to west London full of confidence after the opening-day victory over Nottingham Forest. The midweek signing of Uwe Hunemeier invigorated the Putney Enders and the imposing German centre-back enjoyed a commanding debut alongside Gordon Greer, while potentially Fulham-bound Lewis Dunk kept the bench warm.

Albion dominated the first half and took a deserved lead on the half hour as Sam Baldock swept in a Bruno cross from the right flank. His striking partner Tomer Hemed was also making his mark, hitting the bar early on.

The attendance of just under 20,000 was disappointing from a home perspective and the atmosphere was a bit muted. As much as Craven Cottage is one of the most picturesque grounds in the country, both ends - housing the most vociferous supporters - are open at the sides, next to the sweeping River Thames. This results in the mighty waterway sucking out most of the noise, to such an extent that either set of fans can barely hear each other.

Albion survived a second-half onslaught from the Whites - with Jamie O’Hara pulling the strings - including a rocket from debutant Tom Cairney and a Matt Smith effort tipped brilliantly over the bar by ex-Fulham man David Stockdale.

With 93 minutes on the clock, substitute Jake Forster-Caskey’s superb ball into the path of Kazenga LuaLua resulted in the in-form winger being felled by Shaun Hutchinson inside the box.

Step up Tomer Hemed to despatch confidently the match-winning spot-kick in front of the delirious Albion hordes, celebrating with a pose made high up in the hills of Rio de Janeiro - Christ the Redeemer style.

Jamie Murphy made an encouraging debut coming off the bench in Yorkshire on Tuesday night. The winger, who can operate on either flank, arrived from Sheffield United after netting 12 times in 58 appearances last season, with notable performances in the Blades cup exploits of recent years.

Centre back Connor Goldson signed from Shrewsbury Town on Wednesday, the tenth addition this summer.

The highly-rated 22-year-old was an integral part of the Shrews side promoted back into League One last season. Manager Chris Hughton said: “We are delighted to bring someone with Connor’s ability and potential to the club. We know he had a lot of admirers in terms of other clubs, so we are thrilled to complete the deal.”