Express & Star

Reality of task to achieve West Brom dream clear for Shilen Patel after Southampton defeat

At least Shilen Patel will be under no illusions as to the difficulty of realising his big ambitions for Albion.

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Shilen Patel was given a warm welcome by the fans (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Attending The Hawthorns for the first time, the Baggies prospective new owner - saviour would not be too strong a word - witnessed just the sixth home defeat of Carlos Corberan’s reign as Southampton played the role of party poopers to perfection.

Goals in each half from Ryan Fraser and substitute David Brooks earned the visiting Saints a relatively comfortable victory. Barring a 10-minute spell at the end of the first half, when they admittedly should have been awarded a penalty, the Baggies struggled to lay a glove on Russell Martin’s impressive side.

Patel, watching from the Halfords Lane balcony, didn’t even have a goal to cheer as Albion were shut out for only the fifth time on home turf during Corberan’s tenure.

Confirmation of a takeover being agreed meant this week had already delivered the Baggies biggest result of the season and the bigger remains most important.

Yet still, this felt a little deflating. Instead of a bright new dawn, the night was a blunt reminder of the gulf between the Championship’s breakaway top four and the rest.

Albion are currently the best of the latter and it remains an impressive achievement, considering the restrictions under which Corberan has operated.