by Ben Jones
TABLE-TOPPERS West Brom failed to cement their place at the top of the Championship table, as Swansea held them to a frustrating 0-0 draw.
The Baggies had the better of possession, but it counted for nothing as Freddie Woodman in the Swansea net was but a bystander for the majority of the afternoon.
The home side arguably had the pick of the chances in the first half as they tested the West Brom defence. A ball across from Andre Ayew towards Rhian Brewster was agonisingly too far for the on-loan Liverpool man as Kyle Bartley beat him to it and cleared.
Sitting back and inviting pressure seemed to be working for the Swans as the counter attack was always on, something they were using to good effect.
Another chance came Brewster’s way as a cross was flicked on and landed at his feet. His shot-come-cross almost worked but it was just out of reach of Ayew, who couldn’t quite get there to send the ball goal-wards.
West Brom hadn’t created much by way of chances, but they did have an opportunity to take the lead as a mistake sent Callum Robinson through on goal. His effort was tame and forced a good save from Woodman, however.
Swansea came out after half time on the front foot. An onrushing Matt Grimes picked up the ball from 25 yards out and his fizzing effort stung Sam Johnstone’s gloves. The Baggies ‘keeper could only parry into the path of Jay Fulton who just needed to hit the ball on target and it was one nil – but he blazed his shot over the bar.
West Brom seemingly then went from first to second gear. A sustained bit of pressure had Swansea camped in their own penalty area but the home side held strong as they continued to frustrate the Baggies.
Fulton again had the chance to give Swansea the lead as a well-worked free-kick had the Swansea midfielder running onto the ball but he snatched at his shot and sent the ball over the bar.
West Brom should have taken the lead in the last ten minutes as Kamil Grosicki cut the ball back for Darnell Furlong, who had all the time in the world to pick his spot but his attempt ended up in the travelling Baggies fans rather than the back of the net. Jake Livermore then had an even better chance to give the visitors the lead but, just like his teammate, his shot was high and wide.
Swansea boss Steve Cooper was satisfied with his team’s performance against a strong West Brom side who have been in fantastic form.
“We should be very optimistic about what we saw today. If we can do some of that stuff again it’ll stand us in good stead for the remaining nine games,” he said.
“We’re never going to sing and dance about drawing a game at home but at the same time, I think there were a lot of plusses and positives to take out of the game.”
Baggies manager Slavan Bilic was less positive with his team’s performance as they slipped to second in the table, but called it a “good point.”
“We are not over the moon but it’s a clean sheet, solid, [we] more or less controlled the game. In terms of quality in the final third, that’s what we were missing today.
“That sums it up; we weren’t good enough with that final thing you need to win the game.”