West Brom 1 (Diagne 62) Wolves 1 (Silva 45+2)
Fabio Silva is making a habit of Black Country derby goals, but the Portuguese’s fortuitous opener was enough for just the one point after West Bromwich Albion pegged Wolves back on Monday evening. In the first derby at the Hawthorns in ten years, the old gold struck first and could have been more than a goal to the good, which allowed Albion to remain in the contest and earn themselves a point.
Wolves made a dominant first-half count in injury time when a slick team move ended with a slice of a luck as a ricochet off Silva looped over the head of Sam Johnstone to make it advantage Wolves. However, the Baggies fought back through Mbaye Diagne’s header in torrential conditions in the West Midlands.
Despite absent supporters, it was a contest fitting of the occasion, and while Johnstone frustrated Wolves with big saves from Nelson Semedo, Vitinha and Silva, Rui Patricio also produced when called upon, denying Conor Townsend and Conor Gallagher, as the points were shared in breathless encounter.
The importance of the occasion to the Wolves camp needed no reiteration. The desire to make amends burned deep and that was channelled into a controlled start to proceedings at the Hawthorns. The closest that possession came to wielding the opening goal came when Vitinha, making his third Premier League start, swung a corner onto the head of Romain Saiss, but the Moroccan’s header flew into the arms of Johnstone.
Either side of that first shot on target Patricio had watched harmless Darnell Furlong efforts drop wide of his left-hand post. They were outliners in a dominant first 30 for Wolves, who were pressing the Baggies successfully and should have found a way through with a number of presentable opportunities, the first of which fell to Rayan Ai-Nouri, whose low shot was saved.
Then, when Semi Ajayi hesitated on the ball, Semedo nipped in and blasted an effort towards the top corner, which needed turning over by Johnstone. The goalkeeper was keeping his side level, next palming away a vicious Vitinha strike, as the Portuguese went searching for a first Premier League goal.
However, it was left to his compatriot Silva to strike the first blow. Once Owen Otasowie and Vintinha combined, with a clever flick, Semedo was in and he managed to find Silva, who became the benefiter of a ricochet, which bounced off the striker’s ankle and over the stranded Johnstone. The 18-year-old moved onto four goals for the season, half of which have come against the old enemy.
Half-time: West Brom 0-1 Wolves
Of course, Albion’s need for points is great, in their battle to avoid the drop, and two big chances came and went in the opening ten minutes of the second period. First, Matheus Pereira teed up Townsend, who fired an effort at a decent height for Patricio to palm away. The chance which followed for another Conor, Gallagher this time, was even better, but again Patricio excelled by flying to his left to keep out the midfielder’s goalbound effort.
Silva had threatened a second with a powerful drive which needed saving by Johnstone, but just a minute later West Brom were level. A fine cross by Townsend was met by a thumping Diagne header, which nestled in the bottom corner, after the striker had lost Saiss in the area.
From there, Wolves regained their composure well and got into a series of dangerous positions, without finding the desired touch as the rain definition officially became torrential. The end-to-end contest went right to the wire and it was Wolves who had the final chance, as Adama Traore met a cross from substitute Daniel Podence, but Johnstone saved again and the points were shared.
Full-time: West Brom 1-1 Wolves
West Brom | Johnstone, Furlong, Ajayi, O’Shea (Phillips 33), Bartley, Townsend, Yokuslu, Gallagher, Maitland-Niles (Robinson 78), Pereira, Diagne.
Unused subs | Button, Peliter, Sawyers, Livermore, Diangana, Robson-Kanu, Grant.
Wolves | Patricio, Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri (Kilman 82), Neves, Dendoncker, Otasowie (Podence 71), Vitinha (Gibbs-White 80), Traore, Silva.
Unused subs | Ruddy, Hoever, Marques, Cundle, Corbeanu, Jose.