West Bromwich Albion 1 - Brighton & Hove Albion 0

Date: Saturday 27th February 2021 Behind Closed Doors
Competition: Premier League
Johnstone 6.8, Furlong 6.7, O'Shea 6.6, Bartley 8.1, Townsend 6.4, Maitland-Niles 6.7, Yokuslu 7.7, Gallagher 7.3, Pereira 5.0 (Ivanovic, 79 5.5), Diagne 5.7 (Robson-Kanu, 83 5.7), Phillips 5.8 (Diangana, 72 5.1)
Unused subs: Button, Peltier, Sawyers, Livermore, Robinson, Grant
Manager: Sam Allardyce 6.6
Scorers: Bartley (11)
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire) 3.1
Attendance: 0

Brendan Clegg:

I thought we were absolutely nailed-on to win today from a set-piece with Brighton dominating the ball. Felt it in my bones as I’m sure many did, including Allardyce.

That said, I didn’t think we’d be as lucky.

No complaints with the starting lineup - O’Shea being able to sprint puts him ahead of Ivanovic and I might be in the minority but I get Phillips starting on the left as he’s big, strong and always does the defensive work even when he’s not at it. Plenty of EPL experience so an Allardyce player.

We were the better team for the opening stages and deserved our lead. If anything we should’ve done better from other great opportunities.

I thought after that Brighton dominated us with their intelligent tactical play and we got lucky with the penalty. Why so long to give it though? What if we score in that period or they do? What if their is a red card incident?

The free kick debacle just further reminded me how terrible it will be in a ground with VAR but in the end justice was done.

We got massively lucky after that as Brighton missed great chances through good play and is not tracking runners but equally Maitland-Niles missed a sitter having done well to get there in injury time.

Second half Brighton again dominated, missed some unbelievable chances and I thought Allardyce could’ve made changes sooner to stem the flow of attacks.

The penalty was another VAR farce - I can see why he gave it in real-time but Gallagher clearly got the ball. Another clear and obvious error so justice was done when Welbeck missed.

Somehow we held on with Bartley making a massive tackle at the end.

Overall you’d have to say we were as fortunate to win this as our other lucky victories this season- the games we’ve won we’ve been dominated. We’ll take a rare enjoyable weekend though. My main take from this is we have to move heaven and earth to sign Okay - and a frustration again that had we signed a player of his ilk even 70% as good in the summer, which we all knew was needed, we’d still have a chance.

On we go. Thursday might even be enjoyable.

  • SJ - 7 Some decent saves and sticky hands.
  • Furlong- 7 Tremendous work rate makes up for the odd lack of quality.
  • O’Shea - 7 Thought he did a really solid job and his desire and commitment is fantastic.
  • Bartley - 8 Being allowed to just defend has really emphasised his strengths. Playing at his best and I’m delighted he’s contracted next season.
  • Townsend- 6 Did another reliable job for us.
  • Okay - 7 Oozes quality. He’s like a more mobile Sean Gregan. Huge, quick feet, covers so well, passes it well.
  • Pereira - 6 A few sloppy passes when it matters on the break but always finds pockets and space and he ran his legs off.
  • Gallagher- 6 Great energy and bite but not always the cleverest and did lose runners through over committing.
  • Mailtand-Niles - 6 Is brilliant carrying it on the turnover. Missed chances. I do think he’s a winger.
  • Phillips- 5 Did a decent job and at least won set plays when he got forward.
  • Diagne - 6 Not a lot of service but showed some great link play with what he was given.
  • Diagana - 5 Showed flashes but he had to learn quickly about picking the right pass, looking after the ball or at least losing it in the right areas and taking the set play.
  • Ivanovic - 5 Extra body in there was a gamble but he did enough.
  • HRK - 5 Worked hard but little impact.