The Baggies returned to winning ways against Preston thanks to a Dwight Gayle hat trick as Jimmy Shan made it three out of three at the Hawthorns to keep Albion nine points clear of seventh place.
Game 43 has been an open in previous seasons in that in each of the seasons that Albion have been promoted this century, they have won game 43. In the two they haven’t, in 2001 and 2007, game 43 has ended in defeat. Both of those defeats have been at home to clubs the Baggies would have expected to defeat – Grimsby in 2001 and Sheffield Wednesday in 2007.
Albion’s points total after 42 games this campaign is three ahead of those two seasons but, other than the low scoring 2008 season, it is at least six behind their successful promotion campaigns.
As an aside, no Baggies player had scored 20 goals in a season since Kevin Phillips in 2007/8. This season, both Gayle and Rodriguez have 21 league goals.
The last time two Baggies players reached 20 goals was in 1968/9 when Jeff Astle scored 26 and Tony Brown 23. Bomber only had 17 in the league that year and it was back in 1957/8 that Albion had two players to score 20 league goals in a season. That season, Ronnie Allen scored 22 in the league, 28 overall, Bobby Robson scored 24 in the league, 27 overall, while Derek Kevan also hit the 20 goal mark with 23 overall, of which 19 were in the league.
|* Positions are recorded as Albion’s position in the table after all fixtures for that day have been completed.|
|2001/2002||30/03/2002||Barnsley (H)||W||3-1||Jordão, Dichio, Benjamin|
|2006/2007||09/04/2007||Norwich City (A)||W||2-1||Sodje, Kamara|
|2018/2019||13/04/2019||Preston North End (H)||W||4-1||Gayle (3), Rodriguez|
|2000/2001||16/04/2001||Grimsby Town (H)||L||0-1|
|2001/2002||01/04/2002||Coventry City (A)||W||1-0||Taylor|
|2003/2004||24/04/2004||Bradford City (H)||W||2-0||Horsfield, Hughes|
|2006/2007||13/04/2007||Sheffield Wednesday (H)||L||0-1|
|2007/2008||15/04/2008||Wolverhampton Wanderers (A)||W||1-0||Gera|
|2009/2010||10/04/2010||Doncaster Rovers (A)||W||3-2||Dorrans, Brunt, Bednar|
|2018/2019||19/04/2019||Hull City (H)|