West Brom take spoils from rollercoaster Black Country derby at Wolves

Matheus Pereira West Brom TEAMtalk

West Brom struck twice early in the second half to claim a 3-2 win over Wolves win in the Black Country derby and a huge three points in the context of their season.

Having taken the lead early on, West Brom trailed at half time but produced a spirited second half display and scored two goals in just four minutes through Semi Ajayi and Matheus Pereira.

The victory takes them six points ahead of bottom placed Sheffield United and just three points from escaping the relegation zone.

In their first meeting in nine years, both sides went into the contest struggling for form. Wolves had just win in their previous seven league games, while the Baggies were still winless in the Premier League under new boss Sam Allardyce.

A win was much needed for both teams then, and it was the visitors who took an early step towards getting it.

Referee Michael Oliver awarded them a penalty after just seven minutes when Willy Boly clashed with Callum Robinson in the box, and after a quick VAR check Matheus Pereira stepped up to confidently convert into the bottom left corner.

Wolves immediately went it search of a leveler, but saw a free kick from Ruben Neves and Adama Traore’s effort blocked. They also felt they should have had a spot kick of their own after the ball clearly struck Kieran Gibbs on the arm, but no action was taken.

Boly came close to making up for his error just before the half hour mark as he improvised to direct a back-heeled effort at goal and very nearly caught out David Button in the West Brom goal but saw the ball go wide.

Aside from a Robinson chance to double the lead which required a fine reaction save from Rui Patricio, Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were now well in control of proceedings and an equaliser seemed inevitable, which proved to be the case.

Fabio Silva Wolves TEAMtalk

Fabio Silva was the one to get it, latching on to Boly’s pass- which he again used his heel to deliver- before holding off interest from a defender and guiding his shot across Button and into the bottom right corner. That was the 18-year-old’s first home goal for Wolves since his summer move from Porto.

Just minutes later the hosts completed a quickfire turnaround. Jake Livermore failed to deal with a corner, allowing the ball to pinball around inside the box, and it eventually fell to Boly who stabbed home to complete what was an eventful opening half for the defender.

Having taken a one-goal lead into the break, Wolves came out looking to put themselves into a more comfortable position.

Silva looked the most likely to make that happen, first dangerously breaking into the box and earning a corner before seeing his shot from the resulting set-piece blocked behind.

But they were forced into a rethink when West Brom hit them with a sucker punch through Semi Ajayi’s leveler on 52 minutes. After Kyle Bartley flicked on a long throw-in, Ajayi reacted first and looped a measured header over Patricio to even things up once again.

And just as Wolves did in the first half, Sam Allardyce’s side struck again soon after. It came from another penalty following another foul on Robinson but by Conor Coady on this occasion, and Pereira held his nerve to outwit Patricio to reestablish his team’s advantage.

Wolves made the surprising move to substitute captain Coady in attempt to change the flow of the game, Rayan Ait-Nouri taking his place. It was the first time Coady has been taken off by Santo in a top flight match.

It did appear to have the desired impact though, with Wolves looking much more a threat afterwards. Ayt-Nouri almost set Pedro Neto in but just overhit his through ball before bursting down the left flank to win a corner from which Boly almost doubled his personal tally.

Dara O'Shea, Rayan Ait-Nouri West Brom Wolves TEAMtalk

 

Silva also became more involved but he fluffed his lines with two promising opportunities which went to waste.

But the best chance for Wolves to take at least a point probably fell to the wrong man from their point of view as Romain Saiss found himself free in the box with the ball falling for him, but he misjudged, hit it into the ground and watched it bounce frustratingly over the bar.

Silva was booked for diving in the dying minutes as he desperately looked to win a penalty, but the referee caught on to his games.

And despite seeing very little of the possession, West Brom were able to stay strong and hold on for a hard earned success in a thrilling fixture.