Preston North End 1 West Brom 1 - Report

It’s now three draws on the spin for Albion after they played out a 1-1 stalemate with Preston North End at Deepdale.

.Joshua Earl of Preston North End and Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)
.Joshua Earl of Preston North End and Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

The Baggies travelled to Lancashire looking to get back to winning ways following underwhelming performances against both Derby and Millwall.

But after a positive second-half showing against the Rams, Baggies supporters travelled up the M6 confident their side could get back to winning ways.

In the end, though, they saw another disappointing performance from their side - with Valerien Ismael’s side lacking creativity throughout.

North End opened the scoring midway through the first-half when Ben Whiteman saw a strike from 20-yards deflect past Sam Johnstone.

Matt Phillips then pulled the Baggies level just seconds before the interval when he turned the ball in at the back post following a Darnell Furlong long throw.

In the second half, both teams created very little.

Ryan Ledson saw a smart volley saved for the hosts.

Ben Whiteman of Preston North End and Grady Diangana of West Bromwich Albion (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

While right at the end, Albion's Jordan Hugill was played in on goal only to hit a tame effort straight at goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.

And that meant the Baggies had to make do with a single point once again - with the result seeing them drop to third in the Championship.

Report

Boss Ismael opted to make two changes from the team that was held to a goalless draw by Derby when naming his starting line-up.

Having impressed from the bench against Peterborough, Millwall and the Rams, Jordan Hugill made his first Albion start against his former side.

He replaced Callum Robinson as the Baggies central striker with Matt Phillips on the right flank and Grady Diangana on the left.

Elsewhere, Albion lined up as expected in Ismael's 3-4-3 system.

Conor Townsend continued at left centre-back with Kyle Bartley and Semi Ajayi joining him in the back three.

Darnell Furlong and Adam Reach operated at wing-back with Jake Livermore and Alex Mowatt the midfield two.

Preston lined up in a 3-4-1-2 formation with Daniel Johnson operating in the number 10 role just behind strikers Emil Riis and Sean Maguire.

In what proved to be a scrappy opening 20 minutes, neither side was able to any rhythm with some physical challenges from both teams preventing the game from flowing.

And having seen Albion struggle against Millwall and Derby - the hosts opted for a similar game plan with McAvoy's side going direct and getting the ball forward quickly so that the Baggies were unable to press.

Gradually things started to open up.

Semi Ajayi of West Bromwich Albion (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

Patrick Bauer rose highest to meet a corner only to head wide at the back post.

Then at the other end, Diangana entered the box before lashing a powerful drive that Daniel Iversen tipped over.

In the 26th minute though North End got themselves ahead with a goal that started with a poor mistake from Phillips.

Under no pressure, the forward miss-placed a pass out of defence straight to Riis.

And he then found Whiteman whose shot from 20-yards took a somewhat fortunate deflection to wrongfoot Sam Johnstone and nestle into the net.

Albion should have been level just moments later when Reach escaped down the left.

He then picked out Phillips with a cross which the winger met with an excellent volley.

The entire ground was waiting for the net to bulge - but Phillips effort sailed agonisingly past the post.

Albion, overall, had been poor with Ismael's side looking shaky at the back whilst also creating very little.

But in added on time at the end of the first-half they managed to drag themselves back on terms.

Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion scores (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

It was a Darnell Furlong long throw that did the damager with the wing-back arrowing the ball into the box.

And it eventually broke for Phillips who atoned for his earlier error by nodding in at the back post.

The Baggies played with much more aggression and attacking endeavour following the re-start.

And they came close to taking the lead when, following a swift counter-attack, Phillips curled a strike from 20-yards that clipped the top over the bar as it sailed over.

Ismael made his first change on the hour with Karlan Grant replacing Diangana.

North End made then made a double change with Connor Wickham and Ali McCann both coming on with Maguire and Whiteman the men to make way.

The early aggression Albion had shown had somewhat withered away with Preston pushing for a winner with around 10 minutes to play.

And they almost got one when a cross from the left was met by Ledson. The midfielder showed some lovely technique to hit a fierce low volley.

But the ball was kept out thanks to a smart diving stop from Johnstone.

Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion celebrates (Photo: WBA/Adam Fradgley)

Both teams huffed and puffed as they went in search of a winner in the closing stages.

But it was only Albion who created a clear goalscoring opportunity.

A good ball from Grant found Hugill in the box who was well placed with only the keeper to beat.

The Norwich loanee had time to think about what he wanted to do. But in the end, he hit a poor and tame strike straight at Iversen.

Teams

Preston North End (3-4-1-2): Iversen, Storey, Bauer, Hughes, Van Den Berg, Whiteman (McCann 63), Ledson, Earl, Johnson, Maguire (Wickham 63), Riis (Murphy 83).

Subs not used: Rudd, Cunningham, Lindsay, Potts.

Albion (3-4-3): Johnstone, Ajayi, Bartley, Townsend, Furlong, Livermore, Mowatt, Reach, Phillips (Robinson 69), Hugill, Diangana (Grant 61).

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

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