Express & Star

Kyle Bartley and Alex Pearce nonplussed by own goal decision

Kyle Bartley is adamant he got the final touch on Albion's first home goal of the season – and he was backed up by Millwall defender Alex Pearce.

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Kyle Bartley wheels away in celebration. (AMA)

Bartley wheeled away in delight after the Baggies went 1-0 up on the hour mark, but replays suggested the ball came off Pearce and it was awarded as an own goal.

But after the game, both Bartley and Pearce were singing from the same hymn sheet.

“It was straight off the side of my head!" said Bartley. "Alex Pearce came up to me after the game and said ‘great header’, he didn’t touch it, so I was a bit confused when I came in and saw it’d been put down as an own goal. Hopefully we can get that changed”

Pearce agreed, adding: "No, it was Kyle Bartley’s goal, definitely. I would own up if it was me, I can only be honest about it. Without a doubt, it definitely came off his head.”

Bartley's header broke the deadlock on a frustrating afternoon for Albion against a stubborn Millwall side. Despite having 73 per cent of possession, it took a set-piece for the Baggies to score.

Fifteen minutes from time, Millwall equalised after substitute Matt Smith capitalised on a bouncing ball in the box.

“The overall feeling is frustration and disappointment," admitted Bartley. "When we get one goal up, these are the type of games we have to be seeing out if promotion is to be the end goal.

"It’s something we need to learn and try and improve on. We know we have to stay patient and keep moving the ball around, then chances will come."

Harris's substitutions changed the game, and Bartley admitted the defence struggled to deal with the changes after being comfortable for the first hour of the match.

"The most important thing is that when we do go 1-0 up, you’ve got to expect that reaction from the opposition," said Bartley. "The game might change a little bit and we have to deal with that.

"Smith is going to cause problems, no matter who he plays against. For us it’s about working out how to deal with that, hopefully we can improve on it.

"Before they brought on the two big strikers, I thought we looked very comfortable but what we have to realise is we might have to change a little bit in our defensive shape, make sure we win those second balls, pick up on those first balls, so that’s something will work on."