• Collective responsibility - the key to success

    On paper, a 2-2 draw away, with five important players out injured, to a side with one of the most expensively assembled squads in the division, fronted by one of the best strikers in the country - a side that hadn't conceded a single goal in their last 4 home matches - would be a more than decent result.

    Before the kick-off, most right minded Albion fans would have taken the point. At the interval, after 45 minutes with the home side on top, all would have taken it.

    Yet - because the Albion found themselves in an unexpected (and let's be honest - barely deserved) two goal lead, the final result has seen an out-pouring of angst - on the trains home, on social media, and here on our forums, Albion fans falling over themselves to pin the 'blame' on their chosen scapegoat.

    "Lewis Dunk was to blame - stupidly getting himself sent off. All his fault."

    Ignoring the fact that Dunk actually had a terrific game, until his poorly judged lunge at Faurlin, and ignoring that this was in the 86th minute when we'd already conceded one, and ignoring the fact that even with Dunk there, Charlie Austin would still have been allowed the free header by his marker Bruno - yes - clearly ALL Dunk's fault.

    So it was "All Bruno's fault" then? - for choosing to concentrate entirely on wrestling Austin, and completely ignoring the ball?

    Or perhaps Tomer Hemed? - for trying an over-elaborate back heel from six yards out, when he had the chance to make it 3-0 and kill the game?

    Or David Stockdale? There are always those that seek to find fault in something the keeper has done - even on a night where without his efforts we'd not have got one point, let alone three. It has been suggested (laughably) that he should have claimed the cross that led to the equaliser. Not a chance - it was head high and drilled, rather than hanging to be claimed - plus he had Bruno and Austin between him and the ball. But still #blameStockdale...

    Chris Hughton of course, is having none of this - speaking up for Dunk this morning, just as he refused to condemn Rohan Ince for the wayward back-pass or Gordon Greer for the ill-judged slide, that combined, led to the leveller on Saturday.

    Hughton may even feel the responsibility lies with himself and his management team - they've been quick previously to sacrifice a striker, to protect a one goal lead with an extra midfielder. In hindsight might they have done so when the second went in last night?

    Hughton will ponder all the above today - but only to identify and resolve any flaws - not so he can point fingers. Above all, he understands the value of the team ethic. The Albion have not had such a spirit of togetherness in a squad for many, many years. Even in the back to back title years, the 'spirit' sometimes had to be 'reinforced' by borderline bullying from Danny Cullip and his attack dog Charlie Oatway. The spirit in this squad is genuine. #together.

    Good work pre-season in the Alps formed a bond - reinforced strongly by the tragic events of Shoreham - that has grown and grown with each undefeated week. These players really want this - and they understand they are not going to achieve anything by turning on each other at the first stumble.

    Its great to see, and an example that our more impulsive fans would do well to follow.

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