West Brom 0 Derby 0 - Report

Albion were made to make do with a point for the second time in four days after they were held to a goalless draw by Derby.

Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion and Dylan Williams of Derby County (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)
Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion and Dylan Williams of Derby County (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

After an uninspiring performance against Millwall on Saturday, it was the turn of Wayne Rooney's Rams to visit The Hawthorns.

The Baggies struggled to create clear-cut chances in an uneventful opening 45 minutes.

But they were much improved after the break with Derby pegged back and unable to get out of their half for long spells.

Grady Diangana, Matt Phillips and Darnell Furlong all went close to grabbing a winner - but all three were denied by smart stops from goalkeeper Kelle Roos, who was the game's man of the match.

The result means Albion remain unbeaten in league - with Ismael's side having taken 15 points from their opening seven matches.

Dylan Williams of Derby County and Darnell Furlong of West Bromwich Albion (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

Following their underwhelming display against Millwall, boss Ismael opted to make two changes when naming his starting line-up.

One came in the back three where Cedric Kipre was dropped following his shaky display against Gary Rowett's side.

And that led to Ismael switching Conor Townsend to left centre-back where he lined up alongside Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi.

Adam Reach, making his first league start of the season, got the nod to replace Townsend at left wing-back with Darnell Furlong on the right.

Up front, Callum Robinson replaced Matt Phillips as the central striker with Grady Diangana and Karlan Grant either side.

Rooney, who has tended to line up Derby in a 4-2-3-1 system this season, opted to match Albion's 3-4-3 formation.

Nathan Byrne and Lee Buchanan were his wing-backs.

In attack, Sam Baldock was the central striker with Kamil Jozwiak on the right and Louie Sibley on the left.

After their lacklustre display against Millwall, Ismael would have demanded his team make a fast start.

And they were agonizingly close to opening the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes following a clever short corner routine.

It eventually led to the ball being played across goal where Ajayi met it just yards out.

But while everyone in the ground expected the net to bulge, Curtis Davies made an outstanding goal-line block to keep the ball out.

That chance aside, little else had happened as the half reached its mid-point.

Gradually, though, Albion started to ramp up the pressure.

Semi Ajayi of West Bromwich Albion and Louie Sibley of Derby County (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

Diangana saw a volley from 12-yards deflect narrowly past the post after Furlong had headed a Reach cross back into the danger area.

Furlong then forced Kelle Roos into a decent diving save with a free-kick from 20-yards.

The keeper was then called into action again just moments later when Robinson flicked a Reach cross towards goal which Roos comfortably claimed.

Albion had been at their most dangerous when they got the ball down and played.

The trouble was they did it so infrequently with Derby finding it too easy to head away hopeful balls forward.

And that meant while Rooney's side had created very little, they reached the break feeling relatively comfortable and still very much in the game.

Clearly unhappy with what he had seen, Ismael made a double change at the break with Jordan Hugill and Matt Phillips replacing Robinson and Grant.

That meant Diangana was the only member of the front three to retain his place.

And as the hour mark approached, he was the player causing Derby the most problems with the 23-year-old doing everything he could to add some creativity and spark to the Baggies attack.

And he came a whisker away from opening the scoring when he brilliantly rolled his marker before charging into the box.

Semi Ajayi of West Bromwich Albion rises high to head the ball (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

With Roos coming out to meet him, Diangana hit a low drive which the keeper did well to stop with leg.

The ball then fell to Furlong but - with Roos on the floor - he blazed a strike from 18-yards over the bar.

Albion were now knocking on the door with Mowatt finding Phillips in the box who saw a shot brilliantly blocked by Phil Jagielka.

And in the 70th minute they came close again with Diangana rolling the ball right across the face of goal which - agonizingly - a stretching Phillips just couldn't reach.

Overall, Albion had been much more dangerous in the second-half following Ismael's changes.

And they continued to push for a winner with Derby penned un unable to get out.

Phillips saw a shot from the edge of the box expertly kept out by Roos.

Bartley then headed a Townsend cross straight at the keeper.

Roos had been Derby's best player on the night.

And in stoppage time he pulled off an outstanding save to earn his side a point.

Phillips did really well to hit the byline and dig out a cross.

And that was met by a diving Furlong who powered a header at goal only for the keeper to brilliantly parry the effort away.

Teams

Albion (3-4-3): Johnstone, Ajayi, Bartley Townsend, Furlong, Livermore (Snodgrass 72), Mowatt, Reach, Diangana, Robinson (Hugill 46), Grant (Phillips 46).

Subs not used: Button, Kipre, Taylor, Molumby.

Derby (3-4-3): Roos, Byrne, Jagielka, Davies, Buchanan, Knight, Shinnie, Sibley, Jozwiak (Lawrence 67), Williams, Baldock (Stretton 67).

Subs not used: Allsop, Nird, Morrison, Stearman, Watson.

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