West Bromwich Albion 2 - Luton Town 0

Date: Saturday 1st February 2020 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
WBA:
6.3
Johnstone 6.0, O'Shea 6.0, Ajayi 6.9, Bartley 5.6, Townsend 6.7, Livermore 6.8, Sawyers 5.3, Phillips 6.5 (Furlong, 77 6.2), Krovinovic 7.1 (Harper, 82 5.6), Robinson 7.7, Austin 5.4 (Robson-Kanu, 62 6.8)
Unused subs: Bond, Edwards, Hegazi, Tulloch
Manager: Slaven Bilic 6.4
Luton:
4.2
Sluga, Bree, Pearson, Daniels (Carter-Vickers, 73), Potts, Tunnicliffe (Brown, 51), Rea, Mpanzu, Collins, Cornick, LuaLua (McManaman, 73)
Unused subs: Shea, Berry, Shinnie, Moncur
Scorers: Daniels (14 og), Ajayi (70)
Referee: Steve Martin 5.7
Attendance: 25,141   Home Fans 6.2   Away Fans 4.9
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 20

Brendan Clegg:

Back to basics for us and although far from fluid or enjoyable we had enough to get over the line.

The starting lineup still looked a bit odd to me - I’d have gone with Furlong at right back and HRK up top but I was pleased to see Robinson make his debut.

We started well enough with Robinson and Phillips looking positive.

At the back we were more direct in the opening 20 as we settled down and fortunately for us we took the lead via an own goal after Robinson broke and hit an early cross from the left that would have rolled to Austin anyway.

We were quite frustrating after that. Too many touches, not winning balls that were there to be won, and Austin dropping too deep rather than just getting into the box.

Luton grew into it and we had a let off being saved by the flag after conceding another set play - set plays and free kicks where we continued the annoying tactic of not leaving anyone up and thus occupying the opposition away from our goal.

Largely thanks to Livermore and Robinson we dragged the half back in our favour and created a couple of great chances to go in 2 up - one where Austin appeared to block a Phillips tap-in.

In the second half we deteriorated badly and had a couple of big let-offs as we didn’t dig in well enough or hold the ball at all. It looked like we might well screw it up.

Thankfully Bilic didn’t wait and hooked Austin for HRK. This pretty much immediately swung the game back in our favour, his hold up play getting Krov/Phillips/Robinson back in the game and as we pressed Luton buckled and Semi got our second after a great cross from Phillips. From there on in it was largely game management and Bilic made some safety first subs to see the game out.

It wasn’t pretty and it was a long way from decent form but it was probably what we needed and just about enough. Hopefully this is the first step in getting some decent form and a run of results.

  • SJ - 6 Just about okay. Genuinely doesn’t seem to have the judgment about when to kick it short and long.
  • O’Shea - 6 Steady enough and one great block prevented a goal but I’m not a fan of having a CB out there. Tries to head the ball even when it comes in at thigh height.
  • Bartley - 6 Not too troubled but a couple of blood rush moments and times when he was too busy shouting and not actually watching the game.
  • Semi - 7 Essential pace and got a goal. Still made the odd error.
  • Townsend - 6 I thought he did a decent job again. Some good tackles, some good crosses, better balance with him in the team enabled Robinson to play.
  • Livermore - 7 Led by example. Quality not always there but rattled around the pitch and got tackles in.
  • Sawyers - 6 Just about a 6. Worrying combination of great passes, good control, not being tough enough in 50/50s and overplaying in the wrong areas. Probably needs to be dropped but not sure of the alternatives.
  • Phillips - 7 Picked up front last week, kept trying to make things happen, drove us on. Got an assist and should have scored.
  • Krovinovic- 7 Mostly good play, just that final pass or cross not quite good enough or assertive enough.
  • Robinson - 8 Shades it for being a livewire, getting involved and delivering end product with every situation, be it a shot or cross. Wasted very little.
  • Austin - 5 Some good touches and has got it upstairs but the reactions have gone. Should really have had a field day and, when he’s blowing, he has this annoying habit of dropping deep to try and create things when we need him alert and in the box. Faded.
  • HRK - 7 Gave is more to work with and got others into the team.
  • Furlong-6 I thought he ran his legs off and battled for everything on the right wing.
  • Harper - Not on long but a positive to see him get minutes.

Cardiff Baggie:

I have read Brendan's comprehensive report and this reflects pretty much how I saw the game.

Better than Cardiff and something to build on at least!!