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West Brom 0 Nottingham Forest 0 - Report

What happens when the immoveable object meets the irresistible force?

Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion and Joe Worrall of Nottingham Forest. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/WBA FC via Getty Images).
Matt Phillips of West Bromwich Albion and Joe Worrall of Nottingham Forest. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/WBA FC via Getty Images).

A draw, that’s what.

Those descriptions may be a slight stretch for what was a game full of effort and endeavour but short of finishing quality but certainly backed up the pre-match statistics relating to these two teams.

Albion, third best home record in the Championship, now unbeaten in ten at The Hawthorns this season and Forest, third best on their travels and now unbeaten in their last eight on the road.

None of the previous nine league meetings between the pair had ended in a home win – make that ten – and the Baggies haven’t beaten Forest on home soil since a win under Gary Megson 20 years ago this month.

So yes, a draw. It was probably meant to be.

That’s not to say Albion didn’t push and probe for a breakthrough producing another hatful of shots but not enough on target even if they had to adopt a bit more caution after being reduced to ten men thanks to Jayson Molumby’s 70th minute dismissal.

Valerien Ismael made one change to the team which had drawn at Blackpool with Callum Robinson into the starting line-up at the expense of Matt Phillips.

There was a subdued atmosphere from an Albion crowd point of view in the early stages with none of the vitriol aimed at the Board which was on show in midweek and all the noise coming from the vociferous Forest contingent.

The Baggies did try and get things going by starting on the front foot particularly down the flanks, Alex Mowatt flashing a shot wide after Conor Townsend’s effort had been blocked.

Mowatt’s quickly taken free kick on 18 minutes then found Grady Diangana who cut in from the right and hit a powerful shot which Brice Samba parried.

Grady Diangana of West Bromwich Albion and James Garner of Nottingham Forest. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/WBA FC via Getty Images).

The game hadn’t spring to any sort of life in the first half hour but Karlan Grant was the one player looking to build up momentum and his purposeful run and clever pullback was met by Darnell Furlong’s shot over the bar.

The first of Furlong’s long throws then caused a spot of bother but Kyle Bartley couldn’t get a clean connection on a difficult chance and Forest were able to clear.

At the other end there had been one or two tentative moments in the Baggies’ back-line but no clear cut chances, perhaps summed up when Robinson won a free kick in a good position but Grant’s resulting effort comfortably cleared the crossbar.

Those two did combine just before the break from a clever low corner but Robinson’s effort was blocked.

It was the visitors quicker out of the blocks after the interval with a couple of promising attacks the second of which forced Furlong into a vital block on James Garner’s shot.

That did rouse the Albion fans behind Sam Johnstone who were hoping that some of the promising moments could be accompanied by a clinical touch after the recent barren spell in front of goal.

There certainly felt like more of an edge to the opening stages of the second half with Grant then creating his own chance by beating his man down the left only to fire over afterwards.

Albion had certainly picked up the tempo and a lovely pass from Mowatt sent Robinson through to force Joe Worrall into a fine tackle to divert his goalbound shot.

Furlong then flew in from the right to meet Townsend’s cross with a header which was well off target before directing a low much closer but still wide shortly afterwards.

Referee Gavin Ward shows a red card and sends Jayson Molumby of West Bromwich Albion off. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/WBA FC via Getty Images).

For all the Baggies attacking intent Forest were now starting to look more threatening on the counter and Brennan Johnson’s deflected effort prompted Johnstone’s first meaningful action of the contest with a decent save midway through the half.

And it made for a more tricky final 20 minutes when Molumby, booked a few minutes earlier, went in strongly on Joe Lolley and was shown a second yellow card.

Although Forest now scented blood, Albion didn’t sit back, and substitute Matt Phillips broke down the left before delivering a driven centre that just needed – but didn’t get – the slightest of touches.

Forest had one or two dangerous moments of their own but as Storm Arwen checked in and weather conditions deteriorated dramatically, many Baggies fans had headed for the exits before a glorious chance was spurned in added time.

Substitute Jordan Hugill worked himself space inside the area before firing well over, personifying Albion’s difficulties in front of goal which have extended to almost five hours without troubling the scorers.

Teams

Albion (3-4-3): Johnstone; Kipre, Bartley, Clarke; Furlong, Molumby, Mowatt, Townsend; Diangana (Phillips 60), Robinson (Reach 72), Grant (Hugill 79)

Subs not used: Button, Ajayi, Gardner-Hickman, Fellows.

Forest (3-4-3): Samba; Worrall, Figueiredo (Mighten 72), McKenna; Spence, Yates, Garner, Bong; Johnson, Grabban, Zinckernagel (Lolley 65)

Subs not used: Horvarth, Dias, Ojeda, Drager, Taylor.

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