Two minutes at Birmingham City which summed up West Brom’s season

In a desperately poor derby, the only goal of the game came from the penalty spot, from on-loan Nottingham Forest striker Lyle Taylor.

And that ended a sorry run for Blues against their neighbours.

Birmingham had not beaten Albion in nine attempts since Bruce himself was City manager with two Gary McSheffrey goals in a 2-0 win back in October 2006.

Relive Birmingham’s derby win over West Brom
But it took a moment of Albion madness on 67 minutes to gift a goal to a Blues side who had not won, or even scored, in three matches.

Onel Hernandez went haring after Juninho Bacuna’s searching long ball down the right, pursued by Albion left-back Conor Townsend.

Hernandez got there first and attempted to hook over a first-time cross, but Townsend instinctively flung out his right arm, the ball hit it and referee Dean Whitestone gave the penalty.

Taylor walked slowly one step at a time to the spot before despatching a superbly struck right-foot shot to Albion keeper Sam Johnstone’s right.

That ended listless Albion’s four-game unbeaten run on a cold, miserable day when they could not manage a single effort on target.

Blues’ only other on-target shot on an afternoon best forgotten was a long-range 52nd-minute effort from Bacuna that was hit hard and low but was well held by Johnstone.
It was a Tayl of two penalty calls. West Bromwich Albion’s defeat at neighbours Birmingham City has pretty much snuffed out any lingering hopes that may have remained that they could mount an unlikely play-off push after the domestic season resumed once again.

In truth, a large percentage of the fanbase had given up on the top six long before the international break. The form, particularly since Christmas and away from The Hawthorns, has been rancid bar the eight points they’d collected last month – and even then, the outing at Bristol last time was masked with the late equaliser.

Still, one thing that the players, Steve Bruce, indeed Valerien Ismael before him, cannot legislate for is officiating calls. Perhaps they do level themselves out over the course of a season. Lord knows Albion have been fortunate once or twice – off the top of my head, the equaliser against Cardiff City at The Hawthorns, which Callum Robinson netted, was offside.

They did, though, have a very decent case for a spot-kick here, within a few minutes of kick-off, when Darnell Furlong ’s long throw ricocheted off Marc Roberts ’ arm. The referee, Dean Whitestone, wasn’t having it and instead gave Blues a free-kick, bizarrely.

West Brom’s Championship Catastrophe: From The Failed Tenure of Valerien Ismael To The Abject Beginnings Of The Steve Bruce Era
March 17, 2022 Opinion
After appointing Valerien Ismael in the summer, a massive statement to the Championship after Ismael’s whirlwind success with Barnsley, everything was looking rosy at West Brom.

Fast forward to February of this year after the Frenchman’s exit, West Brom’s season down at The Hawthorns has been nothing short of a catastrophe.

Negative performances under Ismael could be forgiven when the results followed, but when the results unravelled, The Baggies were in free-fall.

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With only two wins in their last 15, Steve Bruce managing his first win as Baggies boss recently against Hull, a change in manager was the preferred option for the West Brom hierarchy.

After being labelled as a yo-yo club for so long, going back and forth from the top flight to the Championship before establishing themselves as a top tier team for a number of years, West Brom’s season to date will see them remain in the second tier unless a dramatic turnaround in form occurs.

With West Brom’s form continuing to go downhill under Steve Bruce’s short spell in charge, it might well get even worse for a fanbase disillusioned at the fall from grace The Baggies have suffered in such a short space of time.

Going back to pre-season before this disastrous campaign got underway, the appointment of Valerien Ismael got fans excited again after West Brom slipped back down to the second tier after relegation.

Under Sam Allardyce, the football wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination and his perceived reputation of stabilising sinking ships didn’t occur at The Hawthorns – Big Sam managing a measly four wins from 26, The Baggies relegated back to the Championship after a dismal showing in the top flight.

Therefore, when West Brom went out and managed to capture a manager fresh off Championship success, the disgruntled West Brom contingent saw huge potential for their 2021-22 campaign in the second tier.

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