West Brom and Newcastle shared the spoils at The Hawthorns as both sides played out a 0-0 draw that had a massive three points up for grabs.
It was a game that many would have predicted to be a cagey affair, with both sides recognising the huge implications of losing and opting for a defensive approach. But it was far from that.
Early on the game became stretched as Newcastle and West Brom went toe to toe with a series of counter attacks, but poor decision-making in the final third meant that the ball didn’t find the back of the net.
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Joelinton was guilty of choosing to pass the ball rather than shooting on goal after he bullied his way into The Baggies box. Up the other end Matheus Pereira found himself in space from a Conor Townsend cross, be he didn’t make a true connection with the ball making it an easy save for Martin Dubravka.
The second half continued to be finely poised, but neither side could capitalise on their chances as the game drifted towards a goalless draw. Matt Phillips missed West Brom’s best opportunity early in the second half as he lashed his shot over the bar from close range.
Of the two managers, Steve Bruce will likely be the most content as the draw helps ease the attention from a week of media scrutiny over a training ground bust up.
Next up for West Brom is a trip to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace, while Newcastle entertain Aston Villa at St James Park.

TALKING POINT - LACK LUSTRE RELEGATION BATTLE

Both managers knew the importance of winning today, with three points dramatically changing the fortunes of their respective sides. But it was as if the game was played with the handbrake on with neither side ever really taking the game by the scruff of the neck, given the value of a victory, it was disappointing. Over the course of the 90 minutes, referee Martin Atkinson never had to reach into his pocket which said a lot for the desire of the players on the pitch.

PLAYER RATINGS

West Brom: Johnstone 7, Furlong 6, O'Shea 6, Bartley 6, Townsend 6, Yokuslu 6, Costa Pereira 6, Gallagher 6, Maitland-Niles 6, Phillips 6, Diagne 6, Robson-Kanu N/A, Grant N/A
Dubravka 6, Krafth 6, Lascelles 6, Clark 8, Dummett 6, Hendrick 5, Shelvey 7, Willock 6, Hayden 6, Joelinton 6, Fraser 7, Gayle N/A, Carroll N/A

MAN OF THE MATCH - CIARAN CLARK (NEWCASTLE UNITED)

A goalless draw would not be what the Magpie fans would have wanted today but it was testimony to the hard work that their defensive unit put in and Clark was at the centre of it. He was always in the right place at the right time to clear the ball away and showed the desire to out muscle the opposition. When the end of the season comes, the point gained at the Hawthorns could well be seen as an important one in the North East

KEY EVENTS:

11’ - CHANCE FOR NEWCASTLE UNITED! A quick counter attack from Newcastle. Joelinton does so well as he bursts into the box, but instead of shooting he goes for the pass and it's cut out and the ball goes out for a corner
20 - CHANCE FOR WEST BROMWICH ALBION! Pereira really should have done better there but he just didn't get a decent connection to Townsend's cross which found him in the box
54’ - CHANCE FOR WEST BROMWICH ALBION! Pereira again sends in a low cross which finds Phillips, but his wild effort inside the box is too heavy and he blasts the ball over the bar
60’ - SAVE! A quick break from Newcastle with Joelinton and Fraser as the centre of it. Willock receives the ball and drives into the box and unleashes a powerful near post shot, but Johnstone pushes it round the post for a corner
71 - CHANCE FOR NEWCASTLE! Joelinton squanders another good chance as his miscued shot makes for an easy Johnstone save

KEY STATS

  • A friendly relegation battle as neither side picked up a booking over the course of the game
  • Sam Johnstone adds to his record as the keeper who has faced the most shots and made the most saves in the Premier League
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