Baggies finish 2015/16 campaign 14th on 43 points
- Rondon blasts home opener (13)
- Ibe solo run levels for Reds (23)
- Baggies complete final-day lap of appreciation
- Attendance: 26,196
- Albion Star Man: Salomon Rondon
ALBION bade farewell to their 2015/16 Barclays Premier League campaign against Liverpool with another tale of what might have been.
A day which began with the Club honouring its pledge to pay tribute to the families of the Hillsborough tragedy closed with the Baggies repeating a familiar tale of frustration since their last victory, against Manchester United, nine games ago.
The Baggies scored an excellent opening goal from Salomon Rondon in the 13th minute but the lead lasted only 10 minutes before Jordon Ibe cancelled it out with a fine individual goal.
After the break, Albion had all the best chances to clinch a last-day victory but the point meant that they finished the season in 14th place on 43 points.
Tony Pulis and his players, dogged by missed opportunities over these past two months, will know that record could have been so much better.
Albion fans again saw another thrilling glimpse of Jonathan Leko’s promise in the build-up to Rondon’s goal as he drifted effortlessly past three challenges to provide the pass for the Venezuelan international to score on the angle from inside the area.
But the Baggies will be annoyed that Ibe was then allowed to execute a cutting run from half way on the right-hand side to beat Ben Foster from the edge of the area.
The game could so easily have been won, however.
Two minutes into the second half, Rondon was desperately unlucky with a header which struck the upright and on the hour, Leko’s link with Craig Dawson saw the full-back fizz over a cross which somehow eluded a despairing Craig Gardner at point-blank range.
Liverpool were then fortunate to escape another Rondon effort at the back post from a Gardner corner, his shot striking a defender as it headed for the net.
The Baggies finished the game with Tyler Roberts and Sam Field on the pitch to give more encouragement to its acclaimed Academy production line before the players enjoyed a good reception in a lap of appreciation as the curtain came down on the season.
ALBION: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson (Chester 46), Evans; Leko (Roberts 72), Fletcher, Yacob, McClean (Field 86); Gardner; Rondon.
Subs: Myhill, Lambert, Berahino, Sandro.
Bookings: McClean (45, foul); Roberts (74, foul);
LIVERPOOL: Bogdan; Flanagan, Skrtel, Leiva, Smith; Ibe (Ings 64), Brannagan, Stewart, Allen (Henderson 64), Ojo (Canos 80), Benteke.
Subs: Mignolet, Ilori, Randall, Chirivella.
Bookings: Smith (40, simulation);
Referee: Robert Madley (Wakefield).