- West Brom on brink of relegation after failing to claim victory in must-win game
- Wolves took the lead at the end of the first half via a fortuitous Fabio Silva goal
- West Brom equalised after the break but could not find a second
The Hawthorns is the highest ground above sea level in English football, but West Bromwich Albion are sinking.
Sam Allardyce’s rescue mission was always going to prove an arduous task, and a return to the Championship is now surely inevitable after failing to beat their bitter enemy.
Hope disappeared like tears in the pouring rain as the surface became soggier, and Allardyce’s record of never being relegated from the Premier League appears certain to end.
With his team ten points adrift from safety, and possessing a poor goal difference, Allardyce must win all his remaining four matches and hope other teams slip up. West Brom need either Newcastle or Burnley to only earn one point from their last four games, or they require Southampton and Brighton to collect no further points this season.
West Brom may have suffered only three defeats in the last 11 matches, and have clearly improved under their manager, but the revival has come too late into the season.
Allardyce said: “We have got so near, yet so far away. That extra two points would have given us a little bit more. We have to keep going to the end and we have to believe.
“We owe it to everyone at the club to win every game we’ve got left and find some fairy dust to stay up. We’re still fighting and we can still get to 38 points. It’d be a miracle if all the other teams above us lose their games.
“I’m very sad for the players, we are dedicated professionals and we’ve had a really good run of form. One thing we are missing and that is wins and converting chances.”
Albion’s fate was arguably sealed in their last match, a sickening 2-2 draw against Aston Villa when they conceded deep into added time, and this display suggested they were still carrying that disappointment.
There has been a vast improvement under the former England manager since February, but there has simply not been enough time to turn this situation around.
He is poised for talks with the Albion hierarchy later this month, where a decision will be reached on whether he stays in charge next season. His contract expires if the club is relegated.
Wolves, meanwhile, will reflect on a sorely needed positive result after their remarkable 4-0 humiliation against Burnley in their last outing. Their supporters may have been absent but will take satisfaction from their team delivering a fatal, perhaps final, blow to their local rivals.
In a scrappy game played in torrential rain, West Brom’s goalkeeper Sam Johnstone enhanced his own reputation with fine first-half saves from Nelson Semedo and Vitinha.
It seems inevitable that Johnstone will be operating in the Premier League next season, regardless of the end to Albion’s campaign.
Wolves required Romain Saiss to scramble Mbaye Diagne’s header off the line, but it was the visitors who took the lead in first-half added time.
Fabio Silva found space after a fine forward move but then benefited from a huge slice of fortune as his shot took a huge deflection off Kyle Bartley and then his left leg to loop over Johnstone.
West Brom missed good chances, with Rui Patricio saving from Conor Gallagher, but did produce an equaliser in the 62nd minute, with Diagne powering Conor Townsend’s cross into the bottom corner.
Yet as the rain hammered down on the surface, West Brom could not produce any more genuine chances to secure a desperately needed victory.
Wolves have not won at the Hawthorns since September 1996 and will have to wait a while longer, with the clubs set to be in different divisions next season.
Their head coach, Nuno Espirito Santo, said: “We controlled the game from the beginning. We should have done better in particular moments with the final touch or pass.
“Now we have to move ahead, look forward and improve. We had a number of young players out there and it was a good test for them.
“We gave them chances to play and I think they were able to use it for their own purpose to become better players.”
Nuno also confirmed that Willy Boly, the defender, was absent after struggling with post-Covid symptoms.
That’s all from me…
But read the above match report for a full recap of this evening’s events.
Here is an updated look at the Premier League standings
It does not make good reading for West Brom fans…
A draw does not do much for West Brom
They needed three points tonight, but they could not get them..
FULL TIME: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
Wolves cone again. Neves whips in a tempting ball but Silva cannot latch onto the end of it.
West Brom win a free kick in Wolves’ half. Pereira lofrs it into the box but Kilman clears it long. That might be their last chance…
Traore finds space on the right wing and he is brought down. The ball is crossed into the box and is put behind for a corner. The corner is headed away but that is that. A draw it is.
90 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
The resulting free kick is headed high and eventually rolls to Johnstone. The keeper hoofs it long, the ball landing at the feet of Furlong. Wolves shut the attack down.
There will be three minutes of added time!
87 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
Chance for Wolves! Neves should roll Podence in on goal but he overcooks the simple pass massively! Terrible execution. Nuno is not impressed.
Furlong is then booked for chopping down Gibbs-White who was breaking away.
85 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
Gallagher unleashes a speculative shot from range but it goes well over the bar. West Brom need to keep their composure here.
83 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
West Brom win a free kick in a very dangerous area, right on the edge of the Wolves box. This could be their chance!
Ait-Nouri off, Kilman on.
Pereira rolls it short to Furlong who dinks a cross into the box. Nothing comes of it.
80 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
Robinson is on for Maitland-Niles as the torrential rain becomes even more brutal.
Wolves launch a cross into the West Brom box but the ball is headed clear. Podence attempts a shot from long range but it is blocked. Vitinha then breaks in behind but his cross is stopped by Bartley.
Wolves are coming hard at the hosts now! Gibbs-White is on for Vitinha.
77 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
Yokuslu fires an effort at goal but Patricio is up to the task.
Diagne then gets in behind but Coady gets back and rescues the situation after a loose pass!
75 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
The rain is coming down even harder now. Sammy Lee is getting drenched as he urges West Brom on from the touchline.
Wolves attack down the right but a poor pass touch from Traore shuts down the move.
72 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
Podence is on for Wolves. He starts in lively fashion, driving at the West Brom defence. They hold firm, however,
70 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
The game has become rather open, both sides eager to try and take all three points. Maitland-Niles is booked for fouling Traore as he sprints away up the pitch.
The free kick is whipped in low but no player from either side meets it! That was a perfect delivery from Neves for someone to latch onto.
Wolves come again, this time Traore drives a low shot wide of the post.
64 min: West Brom 1 Wolves 1
Wolves have responded well to conceding. They form an attack which ends with a Silva shot being put behind for a corner. The ball in is dealt with by the home side.
GOOOAAAAAAL! Diagne West Brom 1 Wolves 1
West Brom equalise! A perfect cross is put onto the head of Diagne who steers it home from close range. That had been coming! Game on!
61 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 1
Silva fires a low shot towards the bottom corner, forcing Johnstone to make a sharp save. Corner.
Vitinha’s corner is cleared.
59 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 1
Furlong has a chance to whip one into the box but wastes it with a looping attempt. West Brom need to be clinical. They need to win, a draw is not enough at this stage.
57 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 1
West Brom are now well on top, can they make their ascendancy count?
55 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 1
Huge chance for West Brom! They work space in the final third and the ball is rolled off to Townsend who hits the ball straight at Patricio from 12 yards out!
Another huge chance! A low cross falls to Gallagher who somehow does not score from eight yards. It is a great save from a sprawling Patricio but there was room to put that in the back of the net. These two moments could be costly!
52 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 1
Pereira drives at the Wolves defence but Coady gets across well to shut down the attack.
Townsend loses the ball on half-way to Silva but a foul is awarded. That was very soft! The striker would have been in on goal with no defenders in front of him. Nuno is incensed.
Phillips rolls the ball to Gallagher on the edge of the box. He beats on defender but cannot get his shot off. The ball comes to Furlong who wins a corner after firing in a low cross.
49 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 1
Phillips fouls Otasowie in the West Brom half. The ball is curled towards the six-yard box but is headed away just in time.
47 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 1
Wolves start the half brightly. Silva plays in Traore who then lays the ball off to Neves. The midfielder’s shot goes wide of the target.
Silva then wins a header from a second attack, but the ball loops straight to Johnstone.
We have a ref replacement!
Mike Dean will do the second half after Paul Tierney was in charge before the break. He picked up a calf injury, however,
Wolves have been the better side…
But not by a lot. A huge half coming up for West Brom. They need to win tonight.
GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL! Silva West Brom 0 Wolves 1
Right at the end of the half! Semedo squares the ball to Silva in the West Brom box. Bartley gets in the way, hoofing the ball into Silva and the ball balloons over the keeper and into the back of the net! That was rather lucky…
What a time to strike.
44 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
The corner is cleared and Wolves counter. Traore breaks into the West Brom box, cutting onto his right foot and firing off a shot. Johnstone makes a smart save,
42 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
West Brom loft a long ball into the Wolves box. Ajayi’s header is deflected behind for a corner.
The corner is taken short before being crossed to the back post. Diagne heads towards goal and Saiss clears off the line! That was so close! West Brom come again, winning another corner.
40 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
The tempo has started to drop as the first half edges towards a close. Both sides have created half-chances, but nothing clear cut.
36 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Furlong fires a low cross into the box but Saiss does well to clear it. Neves is down and Wolves put the ball out of play.
After some treatment, he looks alright to continue.
33 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
A very early change! O’Shea off, Phillips on! It looks as if West Brom are swapping to a back four after a period of Wolves domination. Proactive coaching from Sam Allardyce.
31 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Ajayi loses the ball on the edge of his own box to Semedo who then hammers a shot towards goal. Johnstone tips it over the bar! West Brom got away with one there! The corner is dealt with by the home side.
Wolves attack once more. Vitinha hits a shot from distance. It swerves at the last minute, causing Johnston to put the ball out for a corner. Saiss wins another corner, this time his free header goes over the bar! West Brom clinging on.
28 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Ait-Nouri proves elusive once again. He beats Gallagher before firing a shot at Johnstone who makes a comfortable save. Wolves are back on top after a spell on the back foot.
25 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
It has been an even contest thus far. Wolves started brightly but now West Brom are causing some problems of their own. No shortage of desire from either side.
Otasowie finds a pocket of space in the West Brom box but his left footed strike is blocked just in time. Wolves attack again, this time Neves blasting a shot into the empty stands from the edge of the box.
22 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
The hosts win a free kick in a dangerous area for a cross into the box. Pereira whips in a promising ball but Traore beats Ajayi to it. Top defending.
19 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Neves tries to release Traore in behind but Ajayi does well to cut it out before the winger can latch onto it.
17 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Ait-Nouri makes a brilliant run forward, beating multiple defenders and driving into the West Brom box. His shot is blocked, shutting down his solo effort.
14 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Diagne gets in behind the Wolves defence. He holds up possession before rolling the ball to Furlong on the edge of the box. The attempt that follows is severely lacking in quality, however.
12 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
At the other end, Wolves win a corner of their own. Vitinha picks out Saiss with a lovely ball but the defender can only direct his header straight at Johnstone. Chance wasted!
10 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Furlong wins a corner for his side down the right wing. Pereira floats the ball into the six-yard box but Patricio does well to claim it under pressure. There is plenty of wind to add to the rain, making the goalkeeper’s job even trickier.
7 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Semedo makes a smart run in behind and is picked out, aided by the wet turf which stopped the ball. The right back holds up possession but then cannot pick out Neves with his pass.
West Brom mount their first attack. A cross is hung into the box but both Pereira and Furlong go for the ball which bounces out for a goal kick. Lack of communication there…
5 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
The visitors attack again, this time via Neves. The midfielder strides forward but then hits a tame shot well wide of the post. It has been all Wolves so far!
3 min: West Brom 0 Wolves 0
Wolves lose the ball in their own half but it fortuitously falls to another player in gold. They attack and win a free kick in a decent area for a cross. Vitinha takes it but puts the ball straight out for a goal kick.
Wolves come again, this time Traore’s delivery goes straight out.
The weather looks pretty grim for tonight’s clash
It is not warm and there is plenty of rain about. Not ideal conditions for flowing football…
Sam Allardyce was brought in to solidify West Brom’s defence
He has done just that (eventually). In their first five Premier League home games under Sam Allardyce, West Brom conceded 19 goals at an average of 3.8 per game. Since then, they’ve conceded just twice in their subsequent five home league games (0.4 per game) and are looking to keep three consecutive home clean sheets in the top-flight for the first time since March 2015.
West Brom must win tonight – it is that simple
Sam Allardyce’s side need to win all five of their remaining Premier League matches to have a realistic chance of staying in the top flight.
The quest for the great escape – and to maintain Allardyce’s record of never being relegated – starts tonight. Wolves are out of form and there for the taking. Will West Brom seize the moment?
Back to tonight, here is a team news recap
Dara O’Shea replaces Callum Robinson in West Brom’s only change for tonight’s derby with Wolves.
Willy Boly misses out for Wolves, with Nuno Espirito Santo admitting pre-game he has some injury headaches. Fabio Silva, Vitinha and Owen Otasowie start following last week’s 4-0 defeat to Burnley.
Before we concentrate on this evening’s game…
There has been plenty going on in the world of football over the past day or so. Here is the best of Telegraph Sport on yesterday’s protests at Old Trafford and its aftermath.
West Brom desperately need a win…
So here is a stat that suggests it is entirely possible this evening.
West Brom have won their last three league games against Wolves, last winning more consecutively against their Midlands rivals between 1929-1932 (6).
The team news is in!
West Brom: Johnstone, Ajayi, O’Shea, Bartley, Furlong, Gallagher, Yokuslu, Maitland-Niles, Townsend, Matheus Pereira, Diagne.
Subs: Robson-Kanu, Robinson, Livermore, Phillips, Diangana, Sawyers, Peltier, Button, Ahearne-Grant.
Wolves: Rui Patricio, Saiss, Coady, Otasowie, Nelson Semedo, Dendoncker, Neves, Ait Nouri, Vitinha, Traore, Silva.
Subs: Hoever, Daniel Podence, Willian Jose, Gibbs-White, Ruddy, Cundle, Kilman, Corbeanu, Marques.
Referee: Paul Tierney (Lancashire)
Good evening, West Brom enter last chance saloon tonight
Sam Allardyce has issued a simple instruction to his West Brom squad as they enter the last chance saloon.
The second-bottom Baggies host Wolves tonight fighting to keep their slim Premier League survival hopes alive.
Defeat would not relegate Albion but they could be 12 points from safety with four games left – with a vastly-inferior goal difference – if results go against them.
Victory would allow Albion to keep fighting and Allardyce knows what is needed.
He said: “Win. Simple. This is not gung-ho, we’re not going to do the things we haven’t been doing in training regularly.
“It’s about doing the right things in and out of possession. It’s all about how well you out those basics.
“Then at the top end we need Mbaye (Diagne), Matheus (Pereira) and Callum (Robinson) to be deadly, be it with the final pass or cross or finish.
“That’ll make a huge difference if we’re clinical in front of goal. That will give us the opportunity to win.
“At the back, of course, we have to maintain our defensive solidarity and not make those individual errors that we did against Villa.”
Albion beat Wolves 3-2 at Molineux in January with Pereira scoring two penalties.
The forward also netted in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Aston Villa and believes the Baggies can claim a vital double against their mid-table visitors.
“We are more than capable of winning the game,” he told the club’s official site.
“We won away last time we played Wolves and we deserved those three points. I managed to score two goals that day which I was really pleased about and proud of.
“It’s always special to score goals in the Premier League, but to score two in a derby and win the game was an amazing feeling for me and one I’ll always remember.”