West Bromwich Albion 2 - Queens Park Rangers 2

WBA promoted to the Premier League, just!

Date: Wednesday 22nd July 2020 Live on Sky SportsBehind Closed Doors
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
WBA:
6.5
Johnstone 5.8, Furlong 6.2 (Townsend, 80 6.0), Ajayi 6.1, Bartley 6.4, O'Shea 6.0, Livermore 7.4 (Phillips, 90 5.4), Sawyers 5.3 (Brunt, 71 6.9), Krovinovic 6.4, Pereira 6.4 (Grosicki, 80 6.1), Diangana 7.4 (Austin, 71 5.9), Robinson 7.3
Unused subs: Bond, Robson-Kanu, Harper, Hegazi
Manager: Slaven Bilic 7.1
QPR:
5.7
Lumley, Kakay (Shodipo, 81), Manning, Masterson, Barbet, Ball, Osayi-Samuel (Kane, 78), Cameron (Ramkilde, 57), Amos, Eze, Chair
Unused subs: Kelly, Oteh, Bettache, Gubbins, Clarke
Scorers: Diangana (44), Robinson (49); Manning (35), Eze (61)
Referee: Darren England 6.0
Attendance: 0
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 16

Hippothirteen:

We're back!

Ok we stumbled over the finish line. Make no mistake the Chumpionship is not easy to get out of. Over 46 matches we were good enough.

Hats off to Slaven and the whole team. Every last member of the squad. Inc Sam Johnstone who has been better than many people have given him credit for... what a midfield: Sawyers, Matt Phillips, Diangana, Pereira, Krovinovic and the legend that is Chris Brunt.

I have never been happier supporting the Albion.

Brendan Clegg:

Well we've done it! I think I've learned a lot from this 2 year experience. I love the Championship and I'll never fear EPL relegation again. Tonight was total madness but surely it's what it's all about. Jeopardy, danger, the unknown.

I thought Bilic took a few gambles. As someone who thought Robinson should have been our first choice centre forward since seeing his first game even I thought it was risky starting him there tonight, and playing with not natural left footer across the back four and dropping Krovi in over pace were also big calls.

As it goes most of them came off for most of the game - we dominated 60-70%, should really have scored 3 or 4 but drew the game due to profligacy in front of goal and a soft underbelly that seems to reoccur even when we dominate matches - I don't think SJ made a save all night although both QPR finishes were of top flight quality.

Generally our level was high - the pressing was relentless, we created decent situations and we did lots right. As with so many games, and especially since lockdown, we should've been out of sight. At the end of the first half and for the first 20 of the second in particular we were so on top it was embarrassing but we didn't have the killer touch. I thought the same of the last 15 minutes.

In the end it's natural I think that the pressure got to everyone but in all honesty I can only think of 3 or 4 performances where we deserved to lose this season - Huddersfield being one. The table doesn't lie and it would have been a travesty had we not done it having been in the top 2 for so long... and playing all season with a dodgy 'keeper and no stand-out striker.

Some thoughts on the players for tonight and the season -

  • SJ - 6 Not much chance with the goals. I thought some of his throws to O'Shea (right footed centre back playing at left back) were crazy. He's got great feet yet misjudges the weight of kicks all the time. I'd be looking to strengthen here if we can - I'd take a keeper who commands his box over one with decent feet every time.
  • Furlong - 6 Has been a good signing for the money. Didn't do much wrong tonight and is a relentless worker.
  • Ajayi - 7 Has been a total snip. His gears are incredible and his best years are ahead. Has everything to cut it in the EPL but experience. Can be a bit rash but I hope he makes it. Should have scored.
  • Bartley - 7 Kept throwing himself at headers and getting blocks in. Some decent long passes too. A real season of redemption for him - when allowed to defend and keep it simple he's a decent player and a real leader.
  • O'Shea - 6 Has won me over through his desire. Willed the first goal to happen by putting pressure on our forward players with his supply. Emerged as a leader and is deceptively good on the ball. You feel he needs a few more years in the championship but a first class character. Got caught out tonight for the second but forgivable out at left back.
  • Livermore - 8 Just so committed and has had a great season hammering through the yards having dropped some muscle. Really led from the front. Deserves another go at the big time - has been better overall than when being capped by England.
  • Sawyers - 6 You'd have to say he's been great value for the money. All of the ability in the world but often plays like a winger in the centre. As with most games - some exceptional moments but other times gifts it cheaply and doesn't win enough second balls. Hope he finds that grit next season.
  • Pereira - 6 Couldn't get going off the right and just couldn't find the magic tonight. Overall we've found a diamond whose quality is matched by his workrate. Needs to add goals and drop the play acting but could be some player next season if it clicks.
  • Krovi - 6 So much of what he does is good and his spatial awareness means I'd sign him at the right price, but has his blind spots and really should have scored. Broke the lines well and certainly got to grips physically with the league after 10 games.
  • Diagana - 7 Will be a massive ask to sign him permanently but scored one and made another - yet he was quiet for long periods. Is blessed with a rare gift to take players out of the game and has a decent goal record. Been a pleasure to see him in blue and white and will cost big money to find an alternative.
  • Robinson - 8 Saw enough here to suggest he should have been starting up top since January and certainly since the restart like many of us have been calling for. Odemwingie-esque with his pressing, running in behind and deceptive strength receiving the ball back to goal - as he did for our equaliser. Worth considering a permanent offer for if we're willing to give him 2 to 3 years to peak as an EPL forward.
  • Austin - 6 Did some good work and has been decent value overall for the level as we achieved our objective. Might be worth trying to get a fee for but a useful option at any level for the closing 20.
  • Brunt - 7 Didn't put a foot wrong and what a servant. His performances this season against West Ham and closing out post lockdown games have been better than anyone in the same position - criminally under used. I hope he gets a proper goodbye and still has plenty to offer someone.
  • Grosicki - 6 A no-brainer signing for the money in order to get us over the line. Got plenty of crosses in, as long as his legs last he'll be a threat at any level.
  • Townsend - 5 Looked leggy or that he might be injured but did settle down. Has done a great job for us and it's his physique that limits him. An obvious area we need to strengthen for next season.
  • Phillips - 6 Did a job for us but has to have been a disappointing season overall. Has the attributes to boss this level and get 15 goals. Not sure he's been used the best tactically and it was interesting to see him more central tonight in a similar role he played for Moore last year in a three. Needs to do a Livermore and drop some muscle but has been a good servant for us now and is always an option.
  • HRK - 6 Didn't get on but has been a great free signing and hit a career purple patch for a while. If he had speed to go with is touch and awareness he'd be 20 million plus. Absolutely nothing lost.
  • Hegazi - 7 Unfortunate to be left out but I guess knowing we'd have to be open would put pressure on his pace with QPR's speed. Probably our best centre back overall but not been able to get a run of games through fitness and suspensions. Some huge performances.
  • Harper - 5 It hasn't taken off for him. I'd be loaning him to a championship club - he's got everything but needs to put it together for a full season.
  • Edwards - 6 Against West Ham and Newcastle he proved he can hurt teams who'll be in our mini league. Another I'd be tempted t loan out for a season but I think he's got something and we should tie him down on a long deal.
  • Barry - 4 I'd have kept Mozza over him. A year too far.
  • Bond - 5 We need someone really pushing and he's been content to be backup like Myhill was.
  • Zohore - 5 Has scored some goals and shown glimpses but the hunger doesn't match the potential. Get what we can and move on.

Credit to Bilic and his staff. The consequences of not achieving promotion were probably severe and I go into next season with low expectations and ambitions, content that if we're sensible and see this as an opportunity to invest and rebuild even if it means another relegation then I'm fine with it - I genuinely feel like the future of the club for the next decade or more was at stake.

Best wishes to everyone - I hope you all have a great break and that we'll be able to enjoy some football back at the Shrine soon. Boing Boing!

oshawabaggie:

In a word, excruciating. Despite the bottle of cheap Cabernet Sauvignon I polished off during the game, I was a bag of nerves, like Baggies fans all over the world, I'm sure. To borrow a cliche, over the last four games Albion have been like a Marathon runner blowing a 500 yard lead over the last mile and staggering over the line to win by a head.

I was going to do a critique of the players, but after watching Livermore's emotional post match interview, it wouldn't be appropriate. I'll just say well done to the players, recruitment staff and, of course, Slav.

We have a core group who should do well in the premiere league, but we need to recruit at least half a dozen quality players, starting with a couple of strikers. I'm getting too old to withstand promotion and relegation battles every year.

Enjoy the moment you Baggies!! Boing Boing!!

Kev Buckley:

Would echo Brendan's last of yet another season's worth of excellent reports, in that the starting XI looked a bit weird but at least our loan players got us over the line and you can't really ask for more from your loan players, especially with the Albion's history of taking players on loan and then not even starting them but merely preventing the younger contracted squad members from getting on the bench.

Still seems odd that Robinson appeared to be brought in to make sure we had three covering players for every wide attacking spot, but then starts as a striker in his final game, and scores, though the BBC report suggests the chances he didn't convert might tell you why - hmmm?

Hadn't realised/remembered that we were seven points clear of Leeds at the end of Feb, and yet we finished 10 behind. Here's to blowing most of that EPL money on a 15-goal-or-more-a-season striker who will start every game, and play most of each one facing the opponent's goal.

Maybe our owner will be paying Rondon a visit over in China?

Finally, as people on here know, I've never been quite as infatuated with "The Wand", since he stopped being a deliverer of balls from out wide on the left with it, as many of you, but I was delighted to have seen that he was out on the pitch as we got promoted. Just a shame that he couldn't have given his shirt to a young fan in amongst the crowd again, and taken the applause of a BOING-ing Hawthorns on a massively deserved lap of honour. Chris Brunt: I salute you.

aito:

There were times I could hardly watch but we are back in the big time Premier league! Next up Man U, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal and so on... It's been some season and what a night to end it. My hat off to Swansea and Barnsley and all the other teams who made the last games so exciting. However painful and for some last night it was excruciatingly so, this is why Football is the most popular and incredible game in the world.

We need to lose some dead wood and bring in some quality new players, none more so than a striker capable of taking many of the endless opportunities we create. I'm not talking about individual players today, my congratulations to the team, manager and club.

Come on you baggies Boing Boing