Points shared in rain-soaked Black Country derby
Posted On May 4, 2021
Mbaye Diagne equalized for West Brom against rivals Black Country Wolves with their hopes of survival remaining slim at best.
The striker struck in the second half but the Baggies still need a little miracle to stay in the English top flight.
They remain in second position and are 10 points from safety with only four games remaining after Fabio Silva’s lucky break in the first period. The Baggies could now be relegated before leaving Arsenal next Sunday.
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Albion never looked like he had a well-deserved victory over the mid-table Wolves, despite leveling Diagne, as the visitors were denied a first win at the Hawthorns for 25 years.
The Wolves, who sit in 12th row, also failed to reach top speed in an unforgettable derby.
Romain Saiss took the lead from Sam Johnstone, while Darnell Furlong dragged a wide effort in the only chance of a lukewarm opening.
Desperately lacking an atmosphere, the game struggled to find a real rhythm and it was difficult to see where the goalless Albion would get the victory to keep up his unlikely survival fight.
The hosts rarely seemed to be fighting for their lives, with wolves on top, and almost fell behind after half an hour.
Under pressure from Silva, Semi Ajayi lost the ball in his own box and Johnstone returned Nelson Semedo’s drive.
Boss Sam Allardyce had seen enough and replaced Dara O’Shea with Matt Phillips after just 33 minutes in an attempt to give the Baggies much needed momentum.
There was little initial reaction as Wolves continued to dominate possession and, without the ball, Albion chief creator Matheus Pereira was called off.
The home side created at least a scoring chance before the break when Conor Gallagher conceded a short corner and his cross was directed by Diagne before being hastily cleared by Saiss.
Wolves, however, made the hosts pay when they won a lucky opener in the first half stoppage.
Vitinha’s shot allowed Semedo to advance into the area and he pushed the ball towards Silva.
Kyle Bartley reached him before the attacker, but only managed to see his clearance cannon on Silva’s standing leg and pass over Johnstone.
It was a fortuitous goal but one that summed up Albion’s often disastrous defense this season.
Their attempt at recovery should have given an equalizer early in the second half, but Rui Patricio saved from Conor Townsend and then Gallagher, although the midfielder shouldn’t have given the goalkeeper a chance.
Johnstone returned Silva’s weak effort on time but, two minutes later, the Baggies spoke of an equalizer.
Diagne had been deprived of any decent serve, but Townsend ultimately delivered the perfect cross for the forward to enter at close range.
Yet rather than inspire the Baggies, they lost momentum and – as torrential rains battered the Hawthorns – Gallagher’s wayward ride with five minutes left was the closest anyone had come to a winner.