Baggies show spirit but have to settle for a point

Brighton 1 West Brom 1

Slaven Bilić’s team deserved a point at the Amex Stadium but that elusive first Premier League victory remained out of their reach as the hosts held out following a spirited second half performance from the Baggies.

After an even opening 20 minutes, Graham Potter’s side dominated the remainder of the first half and deservedly went into the break ahead, albeit it was a calamitous own goal that separated the sides at half time.

Sam Johnstone had produced two excellent saves to keep the hosts at bay, but he could do nothing as Branislav Ivanović’s attempted clearance hit Jake Livermore and rebounded into the net. It was certainly unfortunate, but it was no more than Brighton deserved.

The Baggies found it tough in the first half as Karlan Grant was isolated with their principle creators, Pereira and Diangana, well marshalled by a sturdy Brighton defence. After the break however, Albion were much more determined and dominated the second 45 with six shots on goal to the hosts’ one. It wasn’t until Pereira moved into a more central role with the introduction of Callum Robinson that the Brazilian started to influence the game in the way that we know he can.

He was desperately unlucky with a shot from 20 yards that skimmed the outside of the post and his passing was generally much more incisive from the central position.

Ultimately, however, it was Callum Robinson that provided the assist for Grant who finished powerfully from eight yards to earn the point that the Baggies so richly deserved.

There were times when Albion looked very much second best in this game, but that second half performance should give them huge confidence as they look forward to what is becoming an evermore important clash with Fulham next Monday. As Bilić said in his post match press conference, Albion got into good positions in the first half, but their quality in such positions after the break was so much better.

As well as Bilić’s pride in his team’s second half performance, his disappointment in the club’s decision to sell Hegazi was evident. I’m certainly not expecting the Croat to “consider his future” on the back of it, but the club’s change in position in a short space of time was obviously something he didn’t expect, and Dowling and the other senior executives will need to ensure Bilić sees the financial benefit of the decision in January.

As I said in my comment piece earlier, I was not overly disappointed to see the Egyptian leave, but Bilić obviously feels let down and that is something that will need to be addressed.

Three points from their opening six games is obviously below par, and you can read about how that compares to Albion’s previous Premier League campaigns here, but I see this as another positive result but a win against Fulham next week is looking increasingly important.

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