West Brom player ratings vs Southampton: Three 5/10s and several 6s but three 7s

Player ratings and match report from West Brom 0-2 Southampton in the Sky Bet Championship.

West Bromwich Albion failed to impress immediately present new owner Shilen Patel as Sky Bet Championship automatic promotion chasers Southampton ran out narrow 2-0 victors at The Hawthorns on Friday evening. The Baggies eventually grew into the game but they lacked composure in the initial 30 minutes or so, allowing the Saints to get an early and clinical foothold in the game through Ryan Fraser's opener. Super substitute David Brooks then scored a second to give the Baggies too steep of a mountain to climb.

West Brom were shaken from the very offset as manager Carlos Corberan was shown a straight red card in just the sixth minute. It was one of the strangest sending-offs you'll probably ever see as the head coach thought the ball had gone out of play, so he kicked it forward for a throw-in taker. It hadn't gone fully out, though, so he was interfering with play. Referee Sam Allison gave Corberan his marching orders without a second thought, leaving The Hawthorns stunned.

Southampton looked the more threatening side in the opening quarter of an hour or so and they got their reward as Fraser, on loan from Newcastle United, volleyed in to give his team a 14th-minute lead. It was crossed deep to the winger, who was left unmarked by Darnell Furlong and allowed to strike first time beyond a helpless Alex Palmer.

The Saints had given Albion a wake-up just a few minutes before the goal, so it was deserved. It was nearly a gift for the visitors in the eighth minute as Palmer miscued a pass out to Okay Yokuslu and it was intercepted. Saints striker Adam Armstrong was played clean through on goal and he attempted to go around Palmer but the goalkeeper did well to anticipate the attacker's movement.

Albion eventually grew into the game beyond the half-hour mark and they enjoyed more prolonged spells of possession, as well as several big chances. Most of the threat came from the right flank as Jed Wallace and Furlong worked together to create space before cutting back to the edge of the area, while set pieces also proved to be a danger for Russell Martin's side to deal with.

John Swift first struck beautifully from around 25 yards but his shot fizzed a few inches wide of the left post before Brandon Thomas-Asante missed from just a yard or two out following a flick-on from a corner. There was also a huge penalty shout on the brink of half time as Furlong's volley bounced into the ground and flicked onto Southampton captain Jack Stephens' arm. It was waved away by Allison, though, who was heavily jeered as the two teams and officials headed down the tunnel for the interval.

West Brom's improvement continued at the beginning of the second period but faded away. Both sides made a whole host of substitutions around the hour mark but it was the away team who benefited more as David Brooks, off the bench for his fourth Southampton appearance, scored to make it 2-0. The Welshman, on loan from AFC Bournemouth, took a Samuel Edozie pass into his feet and was clinical to sweep the ball across goal. Erik Pieters maybe could have done a little better but it was more the brilliance of the winger's first touch that made the difference.

Albion had a brilliant chance to reduce the deficit just a few minutes later as Okay Yokuslu met an excellent clipped Grady Diangana cross. The Turkey international did all he could to try and convert but Saints goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu did excellently to move across and tip the ball over the bar. From that point on, Southampton dug in to keep West Brom quiet, holding on for an important three points to leapfrog Leeds United for second place. The Baggies, meanwhile, remain four points clear of seventh but the chasing pack could close the gap this weekend.

Attendance: 25,066; away: 1,970

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