UK Football

Black Country rivals play out draw

A dreary Hawthorns played host to an attritional Black Country derby on Monday evening as Wolves laboured to a 1-1 draw at West Brom.

The visitors started the brighter of the two sides with full-backs Nelson Semedo and Rayan Ait-Nouri causing problems. It was the former who turned provider for the opening goal on the stroke of half-time as he ran onto a clever Vitinha flick and pulled it back for Fabio Silva, whose deflected effort looped over Sam Johnstone.

Fabio Silva, Sam Johnstone
Silva’s effort found its way in | Pool/Getty Images

Sam Allardyce switched to a back four in response to Wolves‘ early dominance and while the result wasn’t immediate, it was eventually felt. They started the second half better and got themselves level when Mbaye Diagne powered a Conor Townsend cross beyond Rui Patricio.

With West Brom all but consigned to relegation, it was a battle between two teams with little to play for and that became apparent as the game wore on in awful conditions. Neither side could find a winner and the Baggies remain ten points from safety – meaning they could be relegated at the weekend.

But enough of that for now – let’s get into some player ratings!

Romain Saiss, Sam Johnstone
Sam Johnstone holds Roman Saiss’ effort | Pool/Getty Images

Sam Johnstone (GK) – 7/10 – Denied Nelson Semedo with a great stop in the first half. Strong performance helped West Brom to a point.

Semi Ajayi (CB) – 5/10 – Couple of shakey moments nearly cost West Brom the opener in the first half.

Dara O’Shea (CB) – 5/10 – Removed on the half hour to change to a back four. Not awful up until that point but definitely not great.

Kyle Bartley (CB) – 6/10 – Came into his own after the switch to a back four but might have done better defending the opener.

Darnell Furlong, Ruben Neves
Darnell Furlong angles in a cross | Pool/Getty Images

Darnell Furlong (RWB) – 5/10 – Put in a couple of decent crosses but not much to note.

Conor Gallagher (CM) – 6/10 – The most forward-thinking of West Brom’s midfielders but that is not saying much. Missed a sitter early in the second half but did cause a few problems with his passing.

Okay Yokuslu (CM) – 7/10 – Broke up the play efficiently and was a big part of his team’s second-half fightback.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles (CM) – 5/10 – Uninvolved in the first half but better after the break. Provided some natural width to an otherwise narrow midfield three.

Conor Townsend (LWB) – 7/10 – Lovely ball in for the equaliser. Not what you’d call an imposing performance but stuck to his job and barely put a foot wrong.

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST BROM-WOLVES
Matheus Pereira goes past Roman Saiss | GEOFF CADDICK/Getty Images

Matheus Pereira (CF) – 5/10 – Couple of key passes but one of his quieter games in general.

Mbaye Diagne (CF) – 7/10 – Denied an opener by a superb Roman Saiss block but got the goal West Brom’s flying start to the second half deserved.

Matt Phillips (O’Shea, 71) – 5/10

Callum Robinson (Maitland-Niles, 78) – 5/10

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST BROM-WOLVES
Patricio denies Diagne from a tight angle | GEOFF CADDICK/Getty Images

Rui Patricio (GK) – 6/10 – Quiet evening for the most part but made a wonderful stop to deny Gallagher after the interval.

Nelson Semedo (RB) – 7/10 – Came close to opening the scoring after nicking the ball from Ajayi in the first half. Laid on Silva’s opener with a deft touch inside and provided a consistent attacking threat.

Conor Coady (CB) – 5/10 – Never looks at his best in a back four but commanded the Wolves back line as usual.

Roman Saiss (CB) – 6/10 – Great last-ditch block to keep out Diagne on the brink of half-time but got caught under Townsend’s cross for the Baggies equaliser.

Rayan Ait-Nouri (LB) – 7/10 – Only Ajayi’s right boot stopped him scoring one of the goals of the season after a mazy run in the first half. Really lively up and down the left flank.

Ruben Neves
Ruben Neves drives Wolves forward | Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Ruben Neves (CM) – 6/10 – Took a sore one in the first half but trooped on and delivered a functional midfield performance.

Leander Dendoncker (CM) – 6/10 – Struggled to influence the play much at either end, fairly anonymous performance in the engine room.

Vitinha (AM) – 7/10 – Just his third start for Wolves and he gave decent account of himself. Nice back heel flick that led to the opener.

Fabio Silva, Rayan Ait-Nouri
Fabio Silva celebrates his opener | Pool/Getty Images

Owen Otasowie (RW) – 6/10 – Shuttled up and down the right and put in a decent shift in just his second start for Wolves.

Fabio Silva (CF) – 7/10 – Knew absolutely nothing about the opener but he’ll take it. Didn’t see much of the ball but usually made it count when he did.

Adama Traore (LW) – 5/10 – Got in behind the West Brom back line more than a few times but the old questions about his end product are starting to arise once more.

FBL-ENG-PR-WEST BROM-WOLVES
Vitinha was substituted | JASON CAIRNDUFF/Getty Images

Daniel Podence (Otasowie, 71) – 5/10

Morgan Gibbs-White (Vitinha, 81) – 5/10

Max Kilman (Ait-Nouri, 83) – 4/10

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