Match Reports

Swansea 0 Albion 0

Albion retained their six-point advantage over third-place Fulham with a battling goalless draw in South Wales.

The Baggies gave their all at the Liberty Stadium but were unable to create the clear-cut chances that have been a signature of their campaign to date.

Slaven Bilić made two changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Wigan in the Sky Bet Championship last Saturday. Romaine Sawyers returned from a three-game suspension to replace Rekeem Harper in midfield, while Ahmed Hegazi, who suffered a hamstring injury against the Latics, made way for Kyle Bartley at centre-half.

The Baggies started brightly in South Wales but it was the hosts who almost took a 10th-minute lead when Rhian Brewster blasted wide of the near post from Andre Ayew’s left-wing cross.

Albion went close themselves four minutes later with an outstretched Callum Robinson inches away from turning in Dara O’Shea’s whipped ball across the six-yard box.

Hal Robson-Kanu experienced his own “Gazza” moment on 24 when he dived to poke home Robinson’s low cross from the left but the Baggies were once more left frustrated in front of goal.

Robinson tested Freddie Woodman for the first time on the half-hour mark but the on-loan Newcastle stopper dived down low to parry a driven left-foot strike.

But for a speculative 25-yard strike from Brewster, which dragged well wide of the left upright, the two sides battled out an uneventful 15 minutes to the half-time whistle.   

The Baggies were almost caught napping after the restart when Matt Grimes stung the gloves of Sam Johnstone with a long-range effort before Jay Fulton blazed over with the rebound. 

Goalscoring opportunities remained at a premium and Robson-Kanu flashed wide of the right post when he sensed a half-chance on his wrong foot.

The hosts were handed a golden chance to take a 57th-minute lead but Fulton again fluffed his lines to fire well over from Grimes’ low free-kick.

The introduction of Darnell Furlong and Kamil Grosicki reinvigorated the Baggies, particularly down the left, where the Poland international began to cause Kyle Naughton problems.

With half an hour remaining the Baggies pressed their foot on the gas in pursuit of an all-important lead. Robson-Kanu saw his flick from a Krovinovic corner blocked at the near post before Livermore headed well over from a Matheus Pereira set-piece.

Sawyers then tried his luck from distance but his 67th-minute drive took a slight deflection before whistling over the crossbar from 20 yards.

Andre Ayew attempted a spectacular overhead-kick with four minutes remaining but his effort sailed over from Jake Bidwell’s ball in.

The Baggies had one last chance to win it.

City failed to clear Krovinović’s left-wing cross which fell to Livermore 20 yards out, but the Baggies skipper - confronted with a box full of bodies - was unable to direct his fierce right-foot shot below the crossbar.

Albion: Johnstone; O’Shea, Ajayi, Bartley (Furlong 58), Townsend; Livermore, Sawyers; Pereira (Edwards 78), Krovinović, Robinson (Grosicki 58); Robson-Kanu.

Substitutes: Bond; Gibbs, Austin, Harper.

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