Robins beaten as Baggies extend unbeaten run to six matches

West Bromwich Albion 2 Bristol City 0

For the first time this season, Albion head into an international break on the back of a victory having recorded a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory over Bristol City to extend their unbeaten run to six matches. The three points keeps them five points clear of Norwich City in fifth, and eight points clear of Hull City, although the Tigers do have a game in hand. With just eight games to go, the Baggies are in a strong position to meet their aims of a top six finish.

It was hardly a vintage performance from Carlos Corberán’s team and the opening goal, which came just before half time, was their first attempt on target. Albion dominated the ball with 60% possession in the first period but they had been frustrated by a well-organised Bristol City side, and it was the visitors who had the first real chance when a fast break ended up with Alex Palmer saving well from Tommy Conway.

Fellows took his goal well, a firmly struck left foot shot from the edge of the box that beat Max O’Leary who may have been slightly unsighted, but it owed much to Mikey Johnston’s trickery to open the position up. O’Leary claimed that Grady Diangana was in an offside position in front of him, but the protests were waved away. Fellows was actually floored by a late challenge in the build-up to the goal, but with referee Tom Nield playing advantage, he was back on his feet and in position to receive the ball from Okay Yokuşlu and fire it home. Jason Knight, the player who had brought Fellows down, was rightly booked as the Baggies players celebrated the goal.

Erik Pieters, who had a few uncertain moments in the first half, was replaced by Kyle Bartley at half time and Albion looked much more comfortable in possession at the back in the second period.

The hosts’ second goal came just five minutes after the break and, like the first, Mikey Johnston played a major part. Mowatt’s intelligent through ball found Johnston in the inside left position and he advanced towards the edge of the Robins’ box before playing in Conor Townsend on the overlap. The Baggies’ left back, who had returned to the side after two games out with injury, and he calmly pulled the ball back to give stand-in striker, Jed Wallace, the simple job of passing the ball into the net for his fourth goal of the season.

The visitors did exert some pressure in the latter stages of the match with the returning Taylor Gardner-Hickman drawing a decent save from Alex Palmer, but they never really looked like scoring and, to be honest, they didn’t look like they were that bothered either.

For the Baggies, the return of Conor Townsend to the side was important and he put in a very good performance, earning the man-of-the-match based on the statistics. It’s difficult to argue with that, to be honest, although Johnston’s involvement in both goals cannot be ignored. I also thought that Mowatt and Okay played well with both registering passing accuracy stats in excess of 90%, as did Johnston.

While that midfield pairing is unlikely to be broken up other than by injury, it was good to see Yann M’Vila make his debut in an Albion shirt – the Frenchman looked quick, fit and eager and he looks like being a useful addition to bring on late in games to add a little control.

Albion have come into form at just the right time, losing just once since the start of February and picking up 21 points from 10 games. During the same period last season, Albion only picked up 15 points leaving them with too much to do in the final eight games. Nothing is certain, of course, but it would take a serious collapse for Carlos Corberán’s team not to make the top six from this position.

Furthermore, the Baggies have shown that they can match any side in this division on their day and, If they can continue their good form, they will have as good a chance as any of progressing through the play-offs.

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