Baggies left frustrated as Plymouth earn a point

West Bromwich Albion 0 Plymouth Argyle 0

A draw was probably a fair result in this match but it really could have gone either way. The hosts were fortunate to go into the break on level terms after Argyle threatened more strongly in the first half, but it was Albion who were on top for the second period and were perhaps a little unfortunate not to find a way through. Ultimately, however, the Baggies lacked the cutting edge to find a path to goal, with their long list of injuries to attacking players taking its toll.

Those injuries meant that there were places on the bench for youngsters Tom Fellow along with Akeel Higgins, who was making his first appearance in a senior matchday squad. They were Corberán’s only attacking options in reserve, however, leaving him with little choice when looking for game changers. The biggest surprise in the starting line up was the inclusion of Nathaniel Chalobah, his first league start since the opening day defeat at Blackburn Rovers.

With the visitors yet to win on the road, their performance in the first half was something of a surprise. They hassled and harried and, with Albion well below par, they had several decent chances to take the lead. That they didn’t is perhaps the reason why they remain winless away from Home Park – Morgan Whittaker striking a post and a Kesley-Hayden effort saved by Palmer being their best efforts.

After the break, the Baggies were much improved with Nathaniel Chalobah suddenly bursting into life after being on the end of a robust challenge from Dan Scarr. His own strong but fair tackle a few minutes later set up Albion’s best chance of the game as Diangana’s shot was tipped wide by Cooper.

While Albion largely dominated the second half, their attacking efforts normally ended with nothing more than a set piece and, despite a significant height advantage over their opponents, only one came close to being converted as BTA and Ajayi couldn’t quite turn home Molumby’s header and the dying minutes. The lack of Swift’s precise delivery was undoubtedly a factor.

Tom Fellows’ appearance off the bench was a rare bright spark in an otherwise largely frustrating attacking display from Albion, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a start between now and the next international break.

Although it was perhaps a little fortunate, a fifth clean sheet in seven games is encouraging – it was Albion’s defensive solidity that was the basis of their excellent form at the beginning of Corberán’s reign at the Hawthorns, and if they can maintain that and somehow find a few goals at the other end, perhaps another run of victories can be kicked off.

The Baggies have another opportunity to claim a victory on Tuesday night as out-of-form QPR visit the Hawthorns, and after passing up this chance, claiming a win would be a big step ahead of next Monday’s trip to Coventry City.

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