West Brom ensured they stayed top of the Championship for the next two weeks as they beat Hull City 1-0 at the KCOM Stadium in a hard fought game.
The game was on a knife edge as both teams had great chances to score but it was the Baggies who scored the only goal of the game, from former Hull man Jake Livermore who smashed the ball into the top corner from the edge of the box in the 28th minute.
Before that, Kamil Grosicki put wide a glorious chance after being slipped through in acres of space from 12 yards out.
After Albion’s opener, Josh Bowler’s cross was deflected by Jake Livermore and it fell into the path of Jackson Irvine, who diverted the ball towards goal, but Sam Johnstone made a terrific reflex save to palm it into the path of Jarred Bowen who tapped the ball in the net but he was offside.
The Baggies should have really grabbed a second goal with 10 minutes remaining as Grady Diangana dragged his shot wide after being put through by Romaine Sawyers.
Unfortunately, both Romaine Sawyers and Jake Livermore will be out for the visit of Sheffield Wednesday in two weeks time as they have both collected 5 yellow cards after each were booked in the win.
Here’s how we rated the Baggies players in the 1-0 victory:
Sam Johnstone - 7
Solid game again for Johnstone who palmed Irvine’s shot fantastically well in the first half and added another clean sheet to his collection.
Darnell Furlong - 7
A constant threat up and down the right side and put in some dangerous crosses to challenge the Hull backline.
Semi Ajayi - 8
Solid throughout. Was maybe at fault for allowing Grosicki though on goal in the first half but apart from that, his defensive work was as brilliant as ever.
Kyle Bartley - 8
What a transformed player Bartley is under Bilic. Made a brave header away from a neat Hull free-kick in the first half and throughout the game made some important tackles and blocks to make sure he and the defence grabbed another clean sheet.
Conor Townsend - 7
Townsend on the other side was causing problems too, getting forward so well and putting some delightful crosses over. Defensive work was just as good and really has put himself in contention to be a regular at left-back.
Romaine Sawyers - 8
What a performance from Sawyers. Controls the midfield brilliantly alongside Livermore and his passing was spot on again. Unlucky not to grab an assist as he slipped in Diangana, who dragged his shot wide. Silly yellow card rules him out the next game however which is a blow.
Jake Livermore (C) - 9
Man of the Match for me. Didn’t put a foot wrong. Dominated the midfield winning key 50/50’s and his passing was crisp and accurate. Grabbed a stunning winning goal against his former club too. Shame to miss him as well due to suspension for the next game.
Matheus Pereira - 7.5
Much more like it from Pereira who was a constant thorn in Hull’s side, particularly in the second half. Passing was excellent and was unlucky not to get a second goal for Albion as his shot just went past the post late on.
Matt Phillips - 5 (subbed off 63')
Not a great afternoon for Phillips. Tested the Hull goalkeeper Long which forced the corner for the eventual goal but from that point on he never really got too much of the ball to effect the game.
Grady Diangana - 5 (subbed off 78')
Not one of his better performances from the West Ham loanee who constantly lost the ball in the first half. In the second half he was a little bit better but will be really disappointed he didn’t get Albion’s second goal to make the final 10 minutes a lot easier for his teammates.
Hal Robson-Kanu - 8 (subbed off 90+3')
Excellent performance from Kanu who throughout the game brilliantly held the ball up to start Albion’s attacks. Work rate was superb and got a standing ovation as he was taken off at the end of the game.
Filip Krovinovic - 7 (subbed on 63')
Replaced Phillips early on in the second half and kept things ticking over nicely. Was involved throughout in attacks in the middle of the park with his pinpoint passing and could be in line to start next game due to the suspensions of Sawyers and Livermore.
Kyle Edwards - 5 (subbed on 73')
Came on and lost the ball twice when trying to beat Lichaj. Didn’t get much of the ball to impact the game though.
Kenneth Zohore - N/A (subbed on 90+3')
Came on for the final minute of the game to see out Albion’s win.