It’s been a tough week to get your head around. Consecutive trips to arguably two of the toughest places to go in the league, picking up a point from both and somehow Albion fans are left with a bad taste in their mouths and dissatisfied following late anguish in both games.
Take things back exactly a year and it’s amazing to think Albion’s recent results could spark feelings of disappointment.
Albion had just come off the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Millwall, a team who had managed a single win in their previous 15 matches. The loss was a new low for Sami Hyypia’s disjointed side and after one win in 17 games, a feel good factor at the club was nowhere to be seen.
Hyypia resigned following the next match, a 1-1 draw at Molineux and with the club in a real mess, Tony Bloom took his time to find a potent successor that could steer the club towards safety. Chris Hughton was eventually chosen as the right man to take charge in the New Year and of course, we all know how that decision has panned out so far.
Hyypia’s streak of one win in 18 games has been well and truly flipped on its head by Hughton’s squad that was assembled following a fine summer of recruitment. Albion stretched their unbeaten run in the league this season to 21 games following 2-2 draws at Derby County and Queens Park Rangers, showing how far the club has come since losing nine of their opening 21 games last time out.
Albion suffered a convincing 3-0 defeat at the iPro Stadium last December and just over a year on, the club now finds itself at the opposite end of the table and left feeling rather unfortunate following consecutive 88th minute equalisers at the hands of big-spending Derby and Premier League fallers QPR.
Considering the overwhelming reversal in fortune, it’s hard to understand how any Albion fan is left disheartened with mixed emotions, but for some that really is the case.
Expectations have been promoted following Albion’s lightning start to the season and as quickly as fans are to enjoy the good times, it seems they are just as quick to forget the dramatic struggle that went before their newfound rise.
Of course, it’s going to generate feelings of disappointment when leads are thrown away and precious points are abandoned, but should alarm bells ring? Absolutely not.
In a 46-game marathon, it’s important to take every game as it comes. There’s no point looking further ahead when three points are at the doorstep, however there is a time to look at the bigger picture.
Disappointment is only affordable as a short-term feeling and the best way to get back on positive tracks is to look at hopeful surroundings. Whether you see Albion’s recent results as wasted chances or impressive points picked up on the road, there are 44 other chapters that make up the final story.
Albion may have dropped four points late on in their previous two outings, however those points were caught in victories over Charlton Athletic, Leeds United, Bristol City and the list goes on. Loss is harder to accept than growth, an emotional balance can only be found when those feelings are maturely combined and the bigger picture is accepted.
Although Albion couldn’t take full advantage over their recent opponents, they prevented promotion rivals from obtaining a full set of points and managed to see out tough fixtures without substantial damage.
Of course, the consequences of each and every result are not obvious until the story is published. It’s important to forgive quickly and forget success at a similar rate. A surprisingly frustrating few days has passed for the Albion, however practicality and patience must return as all negative vibes are removed and long-term appreciation is restored on the south coast.