West Bromwich Albion 2 - Rotherham United 1

Date: Saturday 27th April 2019 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
Johnstone 5.2, Dawson 6.1, Bartley 5.8, Hegazi 7.2, Holgate 5.8 (Murphy, 78 5.4), Harper 6.4, Brunt 6.2, Johansen 4.9 (Phillips, 67 6.3), Gibbs 6.2, Rodriguez 6.4 (Robson-Kanu, 90 5.0), Gayle 7.0
Manager: James Shan (c) 5.9
Scorers: Rodriguez (77 pen), Harper (79)
Referee: Robert Jones 4.5
Attendance: 24,534   Home Fans 6.2   Away Fans 5.5
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 16

Brendan Clegg:

I guess the starting lineup couldn’t be argued with as we wrap Phillips in cotton wool.

The concern for me is the system. I don’t think 3-5-2 gives us enough width in attacking play and I’m afraid I’m just can’t trust any backline with Bartley in it.

The first half was really poor - Rotherham made it as bitty and niggly as possible and we played in first gear, not busting a gut and some really poor decision making. I don’t think our shape helped and both wing backs were ultra conservative in their play.

Rotherham were the better side but totally toothless apart from set plays whereas we did at least look like we might threaten if we could be bothered.

2nd half was similar until Rotherham scored with a looping header from a free kick given away cheaply by Brunt. I’d need to see it again but I thought Johnstone was in total no mans land again.

The game was crying out for Phillips and with 20 to go he came on and immediately changed the tide of the match with his pace and power. After a few crosses, corners and scrambles Gayle was felled for a penalty and JRod hammered it into the top corner.

Moments later after more pressure Harper, transformed in the 2nd half after another disappointing opening 45, hammered the ball home from 20 yards low and hard. It was the kind of goal he’s been threatening and I hope it finally gives him lift-off because he has everything to be an absolute monster in centre midfield, I just hope it’s with us.

Murphy and HRK came on to change the system to 4-4-2 and see it out and we should’ve scored more goals but missed easy chances before we nearly through it away in the final minute - Rotherham hitting the woodwork for the 2nd time.

Another victory where we only had to play well for about 15 minutes - more regret that we blew so many points pissing about at the back as we get ready for the play offs lottery.

  • SJ - 5 Not much to do but a terrible 1st half throw out would’ve been punished by a better team and not convincing for the goal.
  • Daws - 6 Ok enough and tried to play it when the time was right.
  • Bartley - 6 Heart is in the right place even when positionally he never is. Comical air swipe from 2 yards that wouldn’t have counted, can control it further than I can kick it and a crazy Cruyff turn but better when he just has to defend.
  • Hegazi - 6 Solid and decent on the ball but he has that maniac streak that worries you.
  • Holgate - 6 Seems to be playing within himself so much but some good moments.
  • Johansen - 4 Woeful. Terrible decision making in good situations, didn’t track runners. Still don’t get it at all.
  • Brunt - 7 Another game full of fight, some great set plays and passes. Giving his all and it stands out.
  • Harper - 6 Am anonymous first half but he was our best player after the break when he showed power, fight, energy and scored a great goal. If he can do it for 60/70 minutes he has to start.
  • Gibbs - 6 Played at cruise control but still often our best outlet.
  • JRod - 6 Anonymous for long spells but good at high tempo on the break. Not sure I’d start him but we’ve left it too late to give anyone else a run.
  • Gayle - 7 He was our only player he did anything first half. Ran his socks off and good link up play.
  • Phillips - 6 We’re a different animal with him in the team. Probably needs to start next week.
  • Murphy & HRK did okay, the system probably suited us better.