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West Brom and Fulham battle to entertaining draw


Premier League strugglers West Bromwich Albion and Fulham produced an entertaining draw that will satisfy neither team at the Hawthorns.

Fulham appeared to be heading towards a first top-flight win since 30 November when Bobby Decordova-Reid opened the scoring early in a first half which the visitors totally dominated.

But an equaliser from Kyle Bartley – the centre-back finishing impressively from close range – two minutes after the break shifted the momentum towards the hosts.

Sam Allardyce’s side looked to have engineered a complete turnaround when Matheus Pereira flicked in a cross from new loan signing Mbaye Diagne.

However, Ivan Cavaleiro headed in an inviting cross from fellow substitute Harrison Reed to earn the visitors a point.

The result leaves Fulham 18th in the table, while West Brom – who gained their first point at home since Allardyce took charge in December – are in 19th, two points further back.

Mixed emotions for Allardyce

The result is likely to have mixed emotions for Allardyce, who had pinpointed this game as one the Baggies needed to win.

His side were fortunate to be only one goal behind at half time but, having tweaked tactics and personnel to take control after the break, he will be frustrated they could not hold out for three points.

The Baggies’ new boss will also surely be concerned that the organisational and defensive principles for which he is renowned have yet to be witnessed on the pitch.

In his eight matches at the helm West Brom have taken five points from the 24 available – and conceded 24 goals at an average of three per game.

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After a demoralising 5-0 loss to Manchester City at home on Tuesday, the manner in which they fell behind after 10 minutes would have infuriated the former England boss.

Conor Gallagher and Dara O’Shea both failed to apply any pressure as Ademola Lookman drifted a pass into Aleksandar Mitrovic and Kieran Gibbs switched off as the Serbia striker fed the ball inside him for Decordova-Reid to apply a cool finish.

More pleasing, though, was his team’s response after what was presumably a half-time rocket from the former England manager as they pressed and fought for every ball and squeezed mistakes out of Fulham.

That enthusiasm and work-rate led directly to centre-back Bartley’s well-taken equaliser and there was also a promising debut for Diagne, who unsettled the visiting defenders when he was introduced and teed up Pereira to put West Brom in front.

Fulham rue missed chances

It must have been an equally bewildering afternoon for Fulham and their manager Scott Parker, who will be wondering what his side have to do to end a winless run that now stands at 10 Premier League matches.

Decordova-Reid’s 10th-minute goal provided the perfect platform to change that statistic but they were unable to build on it due to their profligacy in front of goal.

Former Bristol City winger Decordova-Reid was unfortunate to see an effort to double Fulham’s lead come back off the left post after being played through on goal by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

But he, Lookman and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all had chances to convert when well-placed to put the Cottagers out of sight by the interval.

Instead, they found themselves dealing with a rejuvenated and more abrasive home side after Bartley had equalised.

Defenders Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo suddenly found themselves under much more pressure – with a mark of West Brom’s emphasis after striker Diagne came on being the fact Tosin was involved in more aerial duels (15) than any other player.

Parker will take some comfort from their own recovery, though – and both Mitrovic and Cavaleiro spurned late opportunities to score a winner.

Pereira’s growing influence – the stats

  • Since Sam Allardyce took charge of West Brom, Matheus Pereira has had a direct hand in five of the Baggies’ seven goals in the top flight, netting four times and assisting another.
  • Fulham are now without a win in their last 10 Premier League games (D7 L3) – only once before in the competition’s history have they endured a longer such run (12 between November 2007 and January 2008).
  • West Brom have taken five points from Allardyce’s eight Premier League games in charge (W1 D2 L5), with only Fulham (4), Newcastle (4) and Wolves (3) picking up fewer since his first match as Baggies boss.
  • No side has conceded more home goals (19) under a specific manager in the Premier League this season than West Brom have under Allardyce, despite this being just the Baggies’ fifth game at the Hawthorns under him.
  • Only in 2017-18 (21) has Bobby Decordova-Reid scored more goals in all competitions in a single campaign than the seven he has netted this season for Fulham, with his opener surpassing his total for last season in 25 fewer appearances (six in 47).
  • Kyle Bartley’s equaliser for West Brom ended a run of 466 minutes and 22 goals without a Baggies reply at the Hawthorns since Conor Gallagher netted against Crystal Palace back in December.

What’s next?

West Brom travel to play Sheffield United in the Premier League on Tuesday, 2 February (18:00 GMT). Fulham host Leicester City in their next top-flight game on Wednesday, 3 February (18:00 GMT).

Player of the match

Matheus PereiraMatheus Pereira

West Bromwich Albion

  1. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Pereira

  2. Squad number17Player nameDiagne

  3. Squad number5Player nameBartley

  4. Squad number23Player nameSnodgrass

  5. Squad number1Player nameJohnstone

  6. Squad number6Player nameAjayi

  7. Squad number7Player nameRobinson

  8. Squad number18Player nameGallagher

  9. Squad number8Player nameLivermore

  10. Squad number29Player nameGrant

  11. Squad number2Player nameFurlong

  12. Squad number10Player namePhillips

  13. Squad number27Player nameO’Shea

  14. Squad number3Player nameGibbs

Fulham

  1. Squad number21Player nameReed

  2. Squad number9Player nameMitrovic

  3. Squad number17Player nameCavaleiro

  4. Squad number15Player nameLoftus-Cheek

  5. Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid

  6. Squad number5Player nameAndersen

  7. Squad number1Player nameAreola

  8. Squad number19Player nameLookman

  9. Squad number29Player nameZambo Anguissa

  10. Squad number33Player nameRobinson

  11. Squad number16Player nameTosin

  12. Squad number2Player nameTete

  13. Squad number34Player nameAina

  14. Squad number18Player nameLemina

Line-ups

West Brom

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1Johnstone
  • 6Ajayi
  • 5BartleyBooked at 75mins
  • 27O’SheaSubstituted forGrantat 24′minutes
  • 2Furlong
  • 8LivermoreSubstituted forPhillipsat 83′minutes
  • 18Gallagher
  • 3Gibbs
  • 12Costa Pereira
  • 23Snodgrass
  • 7RobinsonSubstituted forDiagneat 45′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Robson-Kanu
  • 10Phillips
  • 14Townsend
  • 17Diagne
  • 19Sawyers
  • 20Ivanovic
  • 22Peltier
  • 25Button
  • 29Grant

Fulham

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Areola
  • 34AinaSubstituted forTeteat 81′minutes
  • 5Andersen
  • 16Tosin
  • 14De Cordova-ReidSubstituted forCavaleiroat 72′minutes
  • 18LeminaSubstituted forReedat 72′minutes
  • 29Zambo Anguissa
  • 33Robinson
  • 15Loftus-Cheek
  • 9Mitrovic
  • 19Lookman

Substitutes

  • 2Tete
  • 3Hector
  • 7Kebano
  • 12Rodák
  • 13Ream
  • 17Cavaleiro
  • 21Reed
  • 25Onomah
  • 47Kamara

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