Premier League
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West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Fulham: Premier League strugglers draw

By Steve SutcliffeBBC Sport

West Bromwich Albion boss Sam Allardyce says his side playing "too much complex football" was the reason they were so poor in the first half of the draw against fellow strugglers Fulham.

The Cottagers dominated the first period and looked on course for a first top-flight win since 30 November thanks to Bobby Decordova-Reid's early goal.

However, a change of system and the introduction of new loan striker Mbaye Diagne helped the Baggies engineer a complete turnaround after the break.

"Playing a more simple game of football with better quality made life extremely difficult for Fulham," Allardyce said.

"We were playing too much complex football. We kept giving the ball back to Fulham instead of to our players. We just simplified our game. We said 'we have brought a big man from Galatasaray. I want you to play off him - off his feet or chest'.

"We haven't had a target man of his type. I am surprised he arrived here from Galatasaray to take up the fight. It is a great credit to the man that he has actually looked at the table and said 'yes I will come and fight with you'.

"I have struggled to find anybody that has wanted to do that in the whole of January."

Kyle Bartley's equaliser - the centre-back finishing impressively from close range - two minutes after the break shifted the momentum towards the Baggies and Matheus Pereira flicked in a cross from Diagne to give the home side the lead.

However Ivan Cavaleiro headed in an inviting cross from fellow substitute Harrison Reed to earn the visitors a point.

The result leaves Fulham 18th in the table, while West Brom - who gained their first point at home since Allardyce took charge in December - are in 19th, two points further back.

Mixed emotions for Allardyce

The result is likely to have mixed emotions for Allardyce, who had pinpointed this game against another team in the relegation places as one the Baggies needed to win.

Allardyce angry at 'gifted' equaliser

His side were fortunate to be only one goal behind at half time but, having tweaked tactics and personnel to take control after the break, he will be frustrated they could not hold out for three points.

The Baggies' new boss will also surely be concerned that the organisational and defensive principles for which he is renowned have yet to be witnessed on the pitch.

In his eight matches at the helm West Brom have taken five points from the 24 available - and conceded 24 goals at an average of three per game.

After a demoralising 5-0 loss to Manchester City at home on Tuesday, the manner in which they fell behind after 10 minutes will have infuriated the former England boss.

Conor Gallagher and Dara O'Shea failed to apply any pressure as Ademola Lookman drifted a pass into Aleksandar Mitrovic and Kieran Gibbs switched off as the Serbia striker fed the ball inside him for Decordova-Reid to apply a cool finish.

More pleasing, though, was his team's response after what was presumably a half-time rocket from Allardyce as they fought for every ball and squeezed mistakes out of Fulham.

That enthusiasm and work-rate led directly to defender Bartley's well-taken equaliser while Diagne made a promising debut, unsettling the visiting defenders when he was introduced and teeing up Pereira to put West Brom in front.

Fulham rue missed chances

It must have been an equally bewildering afternoon for Fulham and their manager Scott Parker, who will be wondering what his side have to do to end a winless run that now stands at 10 Premier League matches.

Decordova-Reid's 10th-minute goal provided the perfect platform to change that statistic but they were unable to build on it as a result of their profligacy in front of goal.

Former Bristol City winger Decordova-Reid was unfortunate to see an effort to double Fulham's lead come back off the left post after being played through by Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

But he, Lookman and Loftus-Cheek all had other chances to convert when well-placed to put the Cottagers out of sight by the interval.

Instead, they found themselves dealing with a rejuvenated and more abrasive home side after Bartley equalised.

Defenders Joachim Andersen and Tosin Adarabioyo suddenly found themselves under much more pressure - with a mark of West Brom's emphasis after striker Diagne came on being the fact Tosin was involved in more aerial duels (15) than any other player.

Parker will take some comfort from their own recovery, though - and both Mitrovic and Cavaleiro spurned late opportunities to score a winner.

'I want to build on that' - what they said

West Brom manager Sam Allardyce speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live: "With our defensive frailties we needed three goals but we didn't get them. We made a magnificent effort to get the third [goal] but two should have been enough.

"We have showed we can create more chances than I have seen since I have been here. I want to build on that."

Fulham manager Scott Parker: "The game should have been out of sight at half time. We were fantastic in the first half and they had to make changes 20 minutes into the game.

"We had some big chances and it should have been done. We didn't do well enough in the first 15 minutes of the second half but the substitutes came on and did very well.

"We're disappointed it's not three points but we'll keep moving. It's a useful point but there were big chances to kill the game off and we're not on the right side of the big moments. We're playing some good football but you need to put those moments away. It should have been 3-0 or 4-0 at half time."

Pereira's growing influence - the stats

  • Since Sam Allardyce took charge of West Brom, Matheus Pereira has had a direct hand in five of the Baggies' seven goals in the top flight, netting four times and assisting another.
  • Fulham are now without a win in their last 10 Premier League games (D7 L3) - only once before in the competition's history have they endured a longer such run (12 between November 2007 and January 2008).
  • West Brom have taken five points from Allardyce's eight Premier League games in charge (W1 D2 L5), with only Fulham (4), Newcastle (4) and Wolves (3) picking up fewer since his first match as Baggies boss.
  • No side has conceded more home goals (19) under a specific manager in the Premier League this season than West Brom have under Allardyce, despite this being just the Baggies' fifth game at the Hawthorns under him.
  • Only in 2017-18 (21) has Bobby Decordova-Reid scored more goals in all competitions in a single campaign than the seven he has netted this season for Fulham, with his opener surpassing his total for last season in 25 fewer appearances (six in 47).
  • Kyle Bartley's equaliser for West Brom ended a run of 466 minutes and 22 goals without a Baggies reply at the Hawthorns since Conor Gallagher netted against Crystal Palace back in December.

What's next?

West Brom travel to play Sheffield United in the Premier League on Tuesday, 2 February (18:00 GMT). Fulham host Leicester City in their next top-flight game on Wednesday, 3 February (18:00 GMT).

Player of the match

Matheus PereiraMatheus Pereira

with an average of 6.60

West Bromwich Albion

  1. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Pereira
    Average rating

    6.60

  2. Squad number17Player nameDiagne
    Average rating

    6.32

  3. Squad number5Player nameBartley
    Average rating

    6.08

  4. Squad number23Player nameSnodgrass
    Average rating

    5.95

  5. Squad number1Player nameJohnstone
    Average rating

    5.49

  6. Squad number6Player nameAjayi
    Average rating

    5.45

  7. Squad number7Player nameRobinson
    Average rating

    5.35

  8. Squad number18Player nameGallagher
    Average rating

    5.26

  9. Squad number8Player nameLivermore
    Average rating

    5.19

  10. Squad number29Player nameGrant
    Average rating

    5.15

  11. Squad number2Player nameFurlong
    Average rating

    5.13

  12. Squad number10Player namePhillips
    Average rating

    5.03

  13. Squad number27Player nameO'Shea
    Average rating

    4.91

  14. Squad number3Player nameGibbs
    Average rating

    4.82

Fulham

  1. Squad number21Player nameReed
    Average rating

    6.41

  2. Squad number9Player nameMitrovic
    Average rating

    6.33

  3. Squad number17Player nameCavaleiro
    Average rating

    6.25

  4. Squad number15Player nameLoftus-Cheek
    Average rating

    6.12

  5. Squad number14Player nameDe Cordova-Reid
    Average rating

    6.09

  6. Squad number5Player nameAndersen
    Average rating

    6.08

  7. Squad number1Player nameAreola
    Average rating

    5.84

  8. Squad number19Player nameLookman
    Average rating

    5.81

  9. Squad number29Player nameZambo Anguissa
    Average rating

    5.73

  10. Squad number33Player nameRobinson
    Average rating

    5.61

  11. Squad number16Player nameTosin
    Average rating

    5.45

  12. Squad number2Player nameTete
    Average rating

    5.37

  13. Squad number34Player nameAina
    Average rating

    5.35

  14. Squad number18Player nameLemina
    Average rating

    5.19

Line-ups

West Brom

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Johnstone
  • 6Ajayi
  • 5BartleyBooked at 75mins
  • 27O'SheaSubstituted forGrantat 24'minutes
  • 2Furlong
  • 18Gallagher
  • 8LivermoreSubstituted forPhillipsat 83'minutes
  • 23Snodgrass
  • 3Gibbs
  • 12Costa Pereira
  • 7RobinsonSubstituted forDiagneat 45'minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Robson-Kanu
  • 10Phillips
  • 14Townsend
  • 17Diagne
  • 19Sawyers
  • 20Ivanovic
  • 22Peltier
  • 25Button
  • 29Grant

Fulham

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Areola
  • 34AinaSubstituted forTeteat 81'minutes
  • 5Andersen
  • 16Tosin
  • 14De Cordova-ReidSubstituted forCavaleiroat 72'minutes
  • 18LeminaSubstituted forReedat 72'minutes
  • 29Zambo Anguissa
  • 33Robinson
  • 15Loftus-Cheek
  • 9Mitrovic
  • 19Lookman

Substitutes

  • 2Tete
  • 3Hector
  • 7Kebano
  • 12Rodák
  • 13Ream
  • 17Cavaleiro
  • 21Reed
  • 25Onomah
  • 47Kamara
Referee:
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamWest BromAway TeamFulham
Possession
Home37%
Away63%
Shots
Home5
Away12
Shots on Target
Home3
Away7
Corners
Home2
Away3
Fouls
Home9
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Fulham 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 2, Fulham 2.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Fulham).

  4. Post update

    Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Joachim Andersen (Fulham).

  8. Post update

    Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Offside, Fulham. Harrison Reed tries a through ball, but Ivan Cavaleiro is caught offside.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Matt Phillips replaces Jake Livermore.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Aleksandar Mitrovic.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ademola Lookman with a cross.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Fulham. Kenny Tete replaces Ola Aina.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Fulham. Conceded by Darnell Furlong.

  15. Goal!

    Goal! West Bromwich Albion 2, Fulham 2. Ivan Cavaleiro (Fulham) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Harrison Reed with a cross.

  16. Booking

    Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  17. Post update

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion).

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. André-Frank Zambo Anguissa (Fulham) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  20. Post update

    Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Fulham) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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