West Brom 1-1 Blackburn: Brereton Diaz rescues late point for Rovers
Ben Brereton Diaz scored a late equaliser to cancel out Jayson Molumby’s opener as West Brom’s six-match winning home league run was ended by a 1-1 Championship draw by play-off rivals Blackburn.
Molumby came off the bench to nod his team in front in the 73rd minute and, although that looked to be enough for maximum points, Brereton Diaz converted a free-kick at the death to ensure Rovers left The Hawthorns with a point.
Debutant goalkeeper Josh Griffiths was called into action within minutes of the game starting. West Brom failed to deal with Brereton Diaz as he bundled his way into the area and – although he managed to get his shot away – Griffiths was equal to it and tipped it over the crossbar.
That was perhaps an early sign for the hosts, who had won their last seven home matches in all competitions without conceding a goal prior to this, to learn that they were not going to have everything their own way.
Albion did settle quickly after that opening exchange, though. They threatened in the wide areas with a series of low, dangerous crosses from Jed Wallace and John Swift, but the Rovers defence proved to be resolute.
Darnell Furlong came closest in the first half for the Baggies when he met Swift’s corner, but goalkeeper Aynsley Pears was equal to his effort.
The tenacious Brandon Thomas-Asante proved to be too hot to handle for the Blackburn defence. His perseverance and hooked ball back into the danger area provided an opportunity for Swift, who scissor-kicked his shot just over the crossbar.
Thomas-Asante himself was then gifted an opening by the casual Bradley Dack, but he, like Swift, could not keep his shot down.
West Brom were forced into an early second-half change when Nathaniel Chalobah, who was making his full debut here and who impressed during his 52 minutes, was forced off after receiving treatment.
That led to the introduction of Molumby, who had started every league game since the return to action following the World Cup.
He immediately went close when he crashed a shot against Pears’ post. Blackburn, though, looked comfortable and grew into the second half.
Again Brereton Diaz tested the palms of Griffiths, but their best opportunity came when West Brom did not clear their lines after a Sorba Thomas free-kick.
Erik Pieters and Conor Townsend put in important blocks for the home side, before Dolan fired a third effort over the bar.
Albion would take advantage of remaining on terms. Furlong’s cross from the right was headed at goal by Okay Yokuslu, and Pears could only palm it to Molumby, who nodded in the rebound.
West Brom’s game management would come into question, then, and for the most part they were diligent – until the final minute.
A costly error saw Molumby surrender possession and Dolan earned a foul on the edge of the box.
Brereton Diaz, who had been out of form, stepped up and fired the resulting free-kick beyond the wall and into the net, beyond Griffiths who met it with his palm.
Both teams remain very much in the play-off mix, but for the time being without a position in the top six, after this stalemate.