Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Late Middlesbrough Winner Sinks West Brom

Daniel Ayala’s injury-time winner halted West Brom’s hopes of a first league clean sheet and handed Middlesbrough all three points. A set-piece winner at the hands of a centre-back; a typical Tony Pulis way to earn a result. His former side know it well, yet could still do nothing to stop it.

Late Middlesbrough Winner Over West Brom

Middlesbrough Dominance

Middlesbrough dominated the first half but were lucky not to be behind inside ten minutes. Harvey Barnes’ whipped cross turned onto his own crossbar by Boro defender Aiden Flint. The early scare was merely a blip, though, as West Brom wouldn’t trouble the Boro goal again in the first half as they battled constant pressure from Pulis’ side.

Middlesbrough matched up with West Brom’s 3-5-2 formation and were the far better side in the middle of the park. They repeatedly found space in behind Albion’s midfield duo of Chris Brunt and Jake Livermore, both of whom struggled to pick a pass, forcing West Brom to try long balls over the top only to be dealt with easily by the Boro defenders.

For all of their pressure, Middlesbrough’s best chance of the first 45 minutes came at the end of the half. Flint’s knockdown fell kindly to Martin Braithwaite, who has started the season well, only for the striker to send his effort over the bar.

West Brom Improvement

West Brom were much improved after the break, a trait that is becoming a regular occurrence under Darren Moore. He dropped his midfield pairing slightly deeper making it more difficult for Boro to find space between the lines, but the pair continued to lack a decisive pass with most of Albion’s few chances coming from wide areas.

Albion spurned a great chance to open the scoring five minutes into the second half when Matt Phillips and Dwight Gayle found themselves in a two-on-one situation. A well-worked counter-attack from a Boro corner, Phillips didn’t quite put enough on the pass to Gayle, causing the striker to check his run, which allowed Clayton to get back and force Gayle’s shot off target.

Jay Rodriguez’s speculative 35-yard effort forced a save from Randolph in the Boro goal just after the hour mark. After that, the game seemed to be petering out with no real chances in the final 20 minutes other than a well-worked Albion corner, resulting in nothing other than a goal kick as Chris Brunt blazes his strike over the bar.

Corners and Penalties

Middlesbrough should’ve had a penalty in the first half when Albion defender Kyle Bartley defended a set piece whilst keeping hold of Aiden Flint’s shirt, unseen by referee John Brooks. A famous football analogy claims that these things even out over the course of a season. This time it evened out over the course of one game as Albion had their own penalty claim in the second half.

Kyle Bartley was involved again, this time being wrestled to the ground himself by eventual game-winner Ayala. Both should’ve been nailed on spot kicks but neither given, both sides getting away with one, neither side can really complain.

West Brom know all too well the dangers of a Tony Pulis side when it comes to corner kicks. Darren Moore’s side had clearly been working at defending corners this week as they did it very well. A clever combination of man marking and zonal marking worked perfectly for the Baggies, Albion’s defenders each picking up a man whilst Jay Rodriguez defended the space. Despite being used to attacking the ball in the opposition box, Rodriguez did his defensive duties well, heading clear dangerous corner kicks numerous times.

Ayala Winner

Daniel Ayala sealed all three points with his injury-time winner coming from a Boro free kick just inside the West Brom half. The free kick floated into the Albion penalty area dropping kindly at the feet of Ayala, who duly dispatched. Moore will be disappointed with the way his side defended this set piece having dealt with Boro’s dead balls well all game.

Middlesbrough continue their impressive start to the season, overcoming their first real test whilst West Brom remain inconsistent. The Baggies will be pleased that want-away defender Craig Dawson finally returned to the squad, having played the final 20 minutes of the game.

Main Photo


Embed from Getty Images


More Posts