Sessegnon and Berahino on target
SPIRITED Albion were denied their first home league victory over Manchester United for 30 years as Daley Blind struck late on to snatch a 2-2 draw for the visitors at The Hawthorns.
Stephane Sessegnon’s stunning strike handed the hosts a seventh-minute lead which was cancelled out by United substitute Marouanne Fellaini three minutes after the restart.
Saido Berahino’s well-taken second-half finish when sent clean through - his sixth goal of the Barclays Premier League season – looked to have proved enough to secure victory for Albion but they were denied by Blind’s 87th-minute strike.
It was a superb, disciplined performance from Albion in which they both stood firm at the back in the face of United pressure and showed a killer instinct in attack – and Alan Irvine’s side leave with a hard-fought point.
Boaz Myhill was handed his first Barclays Premier League start for ten months, replacing Ben Foster, who missed out due to a calf complaint sustained in training.
It was one of two changes from the side beaten 2-1 at Liverpool prior to the international break, Andre Wisdom returning at right-back.
And it was the Liverpool loanee who set up Albion’s opener, surging down the wing before finding Sessegnon and he rocked the net with a superb first-time finish from the edge of the area.
Myhill saved well from Robin van Persie and Angel Di Maria before Berahino came within inches of connecting in front of goal at the other end.
United applied the pressure as the first half wore on, looking for a route back into the game, but Albion stood firm up to the interval.
The hosts’ resistance, however, was broken three minutes after the restart when half-time substitute Fellaini chested down Di Maria’s lofted pass, shrugging off Joleon Lescott in the process, and rifled home a well-taken effort into the top corner.
Yet Albion were back in front after 65 minutes as Chris Brunt found Berahino with a superb throughball and the striker, one-on-one, kept his composure to finish across David de Gea.
Van Persie came close to second leveller when his half-volley struck the base of a post.
But it was Blind who popped up to level matters with just minutes remaining and ensure both sides shared the spoils.
Albion: Myhill, Wisdom, Lescott, Dawson, Pocognoli, Gardner, Brunt, Morrison, Dorrans, Sessegnon (Mulumbu 86’), Berahino.
Subs: Daniels, Gamboa, McAuley, Blanco, Ideye, Anichebe.
GOALS: Sessegnon (7’), Berahino (65’)
BOOKED: Morrison (foul 39’)
Man Utd: De Gea, Rafael, Jones, Rojo, Shaw, Blind, Herrera (Fellaini 45’), Januzaj, Mata (Falcao 72’), Di Maria (Young 76’), van Persie.
Subs: Lindegaard, Smalling, Carrick, Fletcher.
GOALS: Fellaini (48’), Blind (87’)
BOOKED: Blind (foul 83'), Rojo (foul 94')
Referee: Mike Dean (Cheshire)
Albion star man: Graham Dorrans