West Brom 2 Swansea 3 - Report

Pressure continues to pile on Albion boss Steve Bruce after his side somehow succumbed to a topsy-turvy 3-2 home defeat to Swansea.

Jed Wallace  (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Jed Wallace (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Michael Obafemi struck an 89th-minute winner to earn the south Wales visitors a comeback victory after the Baggies had themselves turned around a half-time deficit to lead.

Karlan Grant saw a tame penalty saved 10 minutes from time with the score locked at 2-2 in what was Albion's gilt-edged chance at a priceless win to ease the doubts.

But the late drama leaves Albion with just a single victory from 11 Championship games in what a nightmarish and disastrous start to a run of fixtures billed as crucial to Bruce remaining in his post as Albion boss.

Cries of "sacked in the morning" poured out from sections of the home crowd as Swans led at the death and deafening boos rang out at half-time and full-time.

Albion stay 21st in the Championship at the start of a massive week, including fixtures against Preston and Luton - with the dark clouds over the club refusing to clear.

The contest could hardly have started worse. The hosts fell behind to Matt Sorinola opener in a dire goal to concede through David Button's poor error.

But captain Jake Livermore equaliser just after half-time with a rare goal and Grady Diangana struck to turn the game on its head.

Jake Livermore (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Olivier Ntcham levelled, though, with a good finish before substitute Grant spurned his big moment from 12 yards, which allowed Obafemi to deal the fatal late blow.

Bruce unsurprisingly handed a Baggies debut to Tom Rogic, who had been working with his new team-mates across the last fortnight to build up fitness having had a limited pre-season.

The 29-year-old Australian was the hosts' only change from their last outing, 14 days ago, where they put in an improved performance to draw 1-1 at Norwich.

Jayson Molumby, who had been away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland alongside Dara O'Shea, made way and dropped to the bench.

There was also a place among the substitutes for Rogic's fellow new recruit Martin Kelly. The experienced defender had always been building up his fitness levels and his place on the bench was instead of Taylor Gardner-Hickman, who was missing from the squad along with Kyle Bartley.

Brandon Thomas-Asante kept his place for Grant up front, while it was a full home debut for Erik Pieters, who impressed at Carrow Road and continued at left-back, with Conor Townsend once more in central defence with O'Shea.

Russell Martin's visitors enjoyed an improved run of form before the international break, with two wins in three, but still started the day 16th in the Championship. There sole change was Luke Cundle, on loan from Wolves, in for the injured Joe Allen.

As Bruce had hinted, and as was played last time at Norwich, the Baggies remained 4-3-3, this time with Rogic and John Swift just ahead of captain Jake Livermore.

Alarmingly and frustratingly the first whistle marked what appeared to be coming for Albion as Swans might have found a way through the hosts' defence but for a loose touch inside 15 seconds.

Swansea appeared to settle well but it was Bruce's side who threatened a goal first, with O'Shea's powerful downward header testing Steven Benda from a Swift corner.

That was about as good as the opening stages got for the Baggies, though, as they swiftly fell behind.

It appeared Button had got his side out of the woods with a wonderful flying save to tip away a powerful close-range volley by Sorinola.

But the home side failed to recover and from the resulting corner from the right Button was caught all at sea as he tried to punch clear among a busy box but flapped and missed the ball, allowing wing-back Sorinola, on loan from Union SG in Belgium, an easy close-range header into an empty net.

Albion had bucked the trend of falling behind last time out at Norwich but once again found themselves with a mountain to climb due to one of the softest of a series of poor goals shipped this season.

Swansea looked impressive early on and they whizzed the ball around in typical style under rookie boss Martin, who has already forged a reputation of playing with a progressive, ball-playing manner out from the last line of defence.

Albion, by contrast, were caught in the headlines as the midfield gap was wide open. Rogic and Swift were chasing shadows.

Swansea's style is risk-reward and they were caught out early on the edge of their own penalty area early, but wasteful passes from Diangana prevented Albion working an easy chance.

The Welsh visitors were comfortable until the midpoint of the first half, as ire from a not-near full Hawthorns crowd began to arrive down from the stands.

Jed Wallace's crossfield ball helped Albion carve out a chance before half hour. It freed Diangana with Swansea upfield but, with an angle narrowing, his low drive was saved easily by Steven Benda.

German keeper Benda disguised his football from the back with opportunities to time waste and was reminded more than once to get on with it by referee Graham Scott.

The home side upped the ante in the final 15 minutes of the first half, while Swans' attempts to manage the game were eating up the seconds any chance possible.

Bruce's men worked some good openings but were wasteful again and they should have gone in level at half-time.

Grady Diangana (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Wallace could not connect properly with a first-time effort with his left foot after a low ball in by Diangana as the wingers combined.

The hosts' fortunes were summed up as lone striker Brandon Thomas-Asante, on his full home league debut, was somehow unable to convert from three yards having been picked out in the middle of the box from a corner. Benda was able to clutch on when he should have had no chance.

Albion kept creating and, following a break involving Wallace and Rogic, Swift's neat cross was headed narrowly wide of the top corner by Diangana.

Wallace really should have scored from close-range after being picked out at the back post from a cross from the left. The angle was against the winger but he dragged a wild effort well wide of the post.

The sides left The Hawthorns pitch to jeers with the home side 1-0 down. Much of the first half was played in front of an eerie silence.

Albion, though, to their credit, wasted little time at the start of the second half to draw level.

The equaliser came from little. A Swift corner from the left was first headed by Livermore before a touch of pinball led to the skipper calmly converting for his first goal in almost three years.

The Baggies were the better side after a much-needed improvement. Bruce's men played with a tempo and belief not seen in the first half.

Rogic's debut lasted just under an hour as Bruce replaced him with the previously in-form Molumby,

Button was fortunate having let another corner through his grasp, which Albion cleared. While at the other end the hosts might have had a spot-kick after Thomas-Asante dropped under pressure, before Benda denied Diangana.

The Hawthorns erupted on 65 minutes, however, as Albion found a second to lead.

Wallace, drifting in from the right, played a squad ball to Diangana who was just inside the box. He steadied himself before a fine low left-footed finish through a flying defender found the bottom right corner.

It felt as though the turnaround was complete and Albion were on the front foot to see out the contest and a priceless three points.

The lead was short-lived, much to the frustration of Bruce and supporters inside the stadium.

Swansea had barely existed as an attacking force in the second half but needed little invitation to level.

Substitute Ntcham, formerly of Manchester City and Celtic, nipped inside from the right and send a sharp low left-footed strike in off Button's near post with the keeper at full stretch. It appeared initially a shot Button could do little about.

Bruce introduced Grant and Okay Yokuslu for the last 15 minutes with the contest on a knife-edge.

With 10 minutes left the hosts were handed a golden opportunity to finally seal all three points - this time from the penalty spot.

The decision was very soft, as referee Scott pointed to the spot for a foul on Grant by Swans sub Armstrong Oko-Flex. The decision looked soft live and replays proved as much.

Grant pulled rank. Thomas-Asante had converted the Baggies' most recent penalty but the sub grabbed the ball.

His effort was tame and weak. Grant opted to go down the middle and the effort was saved by the trailing foot of keeper Benda. It was not the first poor penalty miss of Grant's Albion career.

The points could have gone either way and the visitors sounded out a warning as the lively Ntcham fired over after neat play.

Disaster struck, though, in the final minute of normal time. Ntcham, once more from the left, played in a low ball from the left to fellow sub Obafemi.

The former Southampton man swerved his body and span well before thrashing a good finish to Button's left for 3-2.

Diangana volleyed over in five minutes of added time before Albion screamed for a penalty as Diangana hit the deck.

But, as Swans' winner went in, sections of the home fans chanted "sacked in the morning" at boss Bruce's future remains uncertain with pressure forever mounting.


Albion (4-3-3): Button; Furlong, O'Shea, Townsend, Pieters; Livermore (c) (Yokuslu, 75), Rogic (Molumby, 57), Swift (Grant, 75); Wallace (Phillips, 90+1), Thomas-Asante, Diangana.

Subs not used: Palmer, Reach, Kelly.

Swansea City (3-4-2-1): Benda; Naughton, Cabango, Wood; Sorinola (Latibeaudiere, 75), Cundle (Obafemi, 63), Grimes (c), Manning; Fulton (Ntcham, 67), Cooper (Oko-Flex, 75), Piroe.

Subs not used: Fisher, Darling, Stevens.

Referee: Graham Scott

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