10-man West Brom fought hard in extra-time but lost the Championship play-off semifinal tie to Aston Villa on penalties.
The Baggies won the second leg 1-0 (aggregate 2-2), however, Jed Steer made two saves in the shootout which was ultimately the difference.
Talking about the game, James Shan’s side took the lead on the night via Craig Dawson in the 29th minute.
It came about when the home side won a throw-in close to the corner flag. Mason Holgate then swung a long throw towards the near post for Dawson to glance his header past the Villa stopper.
Albion had other chances in the game, but Villa were dogged in defence despite not showing so much composure in possession.
However, things changed after the hour mark. The away side began to have a look in the game. Chris Brunt then received a second yellow 10 minutes from time which put the home side under immense pressure.
Dean Smith’s men created enough chances to worry the West Brom backline. Albert Adomah and Tammy Abraham’s attempts were superbly saved by Sam Johnstone late on to keep the tie alive beyond 90 minutes.
In extra time, Albion defended for their lives and Villa weren’t able to break them down. It came down to the drama of penalties, with Steer saving Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi’s spot-kicks to put the away side under control.
Tammy Abraham was left to score the winning penalty, and he did that by sending Johnstone the wrong way.
Here’s how we rated West Brom’s spirited performance:
Sam Johnstone - 8
Couldn’t be a hero in the shootout, but it was because of his saves that the tie went that far.
Mason Holgate - 7
Missing the penalty aside, which can happen to anyone, the youngster played well on the right-hand side. He assisted the only goal of the game as well.
Craig Dawson - 8
Scored the tie-equalising goal and stood up to defend everything Villa were throwing in the box.
Ahmed Hegazi - 7
He missed in the shootout, but that shouldn’t deter away from the fact that the Egyptian star played very well at the back for Albion.
Kyle Bartley - 8
Since the start of this tie, Bartley has been one of the most improved players. Once again tonight he was calm at the back and read the situations very well.
Kieran Gibbs - 7
A much better performance from the experienced Gibbs, who seems as though he was fired up for this game. Scored his penalty in the shootout as well.
Chris Brunt - 5
Gave it his all to try and stop Jack Grealish and John McGinn in midfield. He was a bit lucky that the referee didn’t spot his collision with the latter in the first half. But, rightly sent off in the 80th minute.
Stefan Johansen - 7
The Norwegian star was pumped up for the game from the first whistle it seems. Pressed hard and looked aggressive in everything he did. Received a yellow card in the second half and was subbed off later.
Matt Phillips - 6
Despite this being his second game in three days after a two-month layoff, Phillips tried his best to influence the game. His ability to carry the ball forward on the counter was valuable to the team. Subbed off late on.
Jay Rodriguez - 7
Despite the fact that Rodriguez doesn’t possess frightening pace, he gave the Villa back line a hell of a game. Pressed them high and tested Steer with a fearsome volley. Subbed off in extra time as Albion needed pace up top.
Jacob Murphy - 6
Struggled to impact in the first half, but came out well after the break. His goal-bound attempt well cleared off the line by Tyrone Mings. Subbed off in the second half.
(SUB) James Morrison - 6
Came on and had to defend with the back line after the departure of Brunt. Kept Albion in it by scoring a penalty in the shootout.
(SUB) Rekeem Harper - 6
Came on knowing that he had to defend well off the ball. And the youngster did that well.
(SUB) Tosin Adarabioyo - 7
Came on and made some important headed clearances. Enjoyed playing in central midfield and took his penalty well.
(SUB) Jonathan Leko - 5
Came on to inject pace up top as Albion sat deep in extra time. He gave Villa defenders something to think about.
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