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Baluta bags brilliant strike in victory over Chelsea

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Albion land their first three points of the campaign with a win over Premier League 2 table-toppers.

By Charlie Hanson • 25 September 2020

By James Boardman
Baluta puts Albion in front with a fantastic long-range goal.

A stunning Tudor Baluta strike and a smartly taken finish by Danny Cashman were enough for Albion to secure their first win of the Premier League 2 season.

Baluta fired in from just inside the Chelsea half after an error from Blues keeper Karlo Zigler before Cashman doubled the lead late on with an angled effort into the bottom left-hand corner.

The result extends Albion’s unbeaten start to their league campaign to three matches.

What happened

By James Boardman
Baluta fires in from long range to put Albion in front against the Blues.

Albion got off to the perfect start as their high press delivered rich rewards after six minutes. Under pressure, Chelsea keeper Zigler found himself in no-man’s land as his attempted clearance downfield found Baluta, who cleverly steered the ball into the bottom right corner from the best part of 60 yards with the keeper out of his goal.

Romaric Yapi went close four minutes later as Albion again caught Chelsea in possession, with Teddy Jenks cleverly pinching the ball deep inside the Blues’ half. He sent Yapi away down the right but Zigler managed to save before diving on the loose ball.

Theirno Ballo’s attempted bicycle kick from ten yards just before the break meant a straightforward save for Carl Rushworth diving to his right, as the Blues failed to seriously test Albion’s keeper in the opening 45 minutes.

The visitors fired into life in the second half, but for all their possession couldn’t make the inroads they might have felt their possession deserved, and a resolute Albion looked to punish them on transition.

By James Boardman
Cashman finds the back of the net for the second consecutive Premier League 2 match.

With Chelsea pushing forward late on, Jenks’ excellent cross-field ball found Cashman breaking into the box and he made no mistake as he dispatched the ball into the bottom left corner from 16 yards on 83 minutes.

Terrific from Tudor

A fantastic strike by Baluta to put Albion in front early on gave Simon Rusk’s side the momentum to really take hold of the first half. The Romanian’s defensive display was equally impressive, as Ballo struggled to get the better of his marker. The 21-year-old was substituted at half-time as he continues his return to fitness.

High press pays off

The early errors that Chelsea were forced into will be a point of pride for Rusk, as Albion punished a Chelsea side who were slow out the blocks and might well have conceded a second shortly after Baluta’s goal had Yapi been able to squeeze his effort past Zigler.

… and a first win of the campaign

By James Boardman
Jensen Weir and Andrew Crofts anchored the Albion midfield against Chelsea.

Good performances against high calibre opponents in Tottenham and Arsenal earned Albion a point on each occasion. But there was a maturity to their display as they controlled Chelsea in dangerous areas, which played a massive part in sealing the points.

The line-up

Albion: Rushworth, Packham (Wilson 62), Dendoncker, Baluta (Tsoungui 46), Cochrane, Crofts, Weir, Yapi, Jenks, Gwargis (Eneme 89), Cashman.

Unused subs: Desbois (GK), Spong. 

Next up

A return to EFL Trophy action for Simon Rusk’s side as they head to Charlton Athletic on Wednesday – kick-off 7pm.

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PL2: Albion 2 Chelsea 0

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