Looking to record their first win of the 2023/24 EFL Championship campaign, Middlesbrough travelled to The Hawthorns on Saturday. With West Brom having also picked up just a point, a closely-matched encounter should prove to be entertaining.
WBA: Palmer; Pieters, Kipré, Ajayi; Phillips, Yokuslu, Molumby, Furlong; Swift, Wallace; Thomas-Asante
MID: Dieng; Engel, Lenihan, Fry, Smith; Hackney, Howson; McGree, Rogers, Silvera; Latte Lath
A fabulous start to the match saw Phillips left in acres of space in the penalty area as he sought to thunder the Baggies into the lead early on – but the right-back squandered the opportunity, opting to pass back for a teammate and granting Boro chance to clear the danger.
Middlesbrough’s wait for their first chance of the match was long and painstaking, ultimately culminating in nothing as McGree’s tame shot failed to trouble the goalkeeper.
It was the Baggies that took the lead after 22 minutes, much to the delight of the home faithful. A long throw-in fell perfectly for Cedric Kipré, with the defender using his chest to control the ball before thundering an effort past Dieng – who was left stranded.
The second goal followed soon after for the hosts, with Swift jinking past defenders to curl an effort into the top corner. The Baggies looked to be cruising to a comfortable victory at The Hawthorns – and a third goal would all but confirm the three points.
And while the third goal did follow soon after, it wasn’t for the hosts! Middlesbrough had found a way to strike back and reduce the defecit, with Silvera’s cross powered over the line by Latte Lath.
There were chances for both sides as the first half reached its conclusion, with Latte Lath firing an effort over the crossbar before West Brom were denied their third as Phillips’ cross sailed through the box uncontested.
And the action-packed nature of the match would continue in the second half, as Thomas-Assante restored the Baggies’ two-goal lead after nipping onto the end of Engel’s underpowered backpass!
Yet bad would still turn worse for Boro, as Smith was shown a second yellow card for a reckless challenge on Phillips on the halfway line – leaving the visitors to play the final forty minutes with ten men.
Still though, with five minutes of regulation time remaining, the visitors would be granted a lifeline in the form of a penalty. A handball offence in the area allowed Forss to step up to the spot, and he made no mistake in front of the Boro fans – but could they clinch a point?
The answer was to be no, as Sarmiento scored at the beginning of stoppage time to hand West Brom a comfortable 4-2 win. The Baggies have already been knocked out of the Carabao Cup, so they’ll now turn their attention to Saturday’s clash with Huddersfield Town – while Boro must prepare for a midweek trip to Bolton Wanderers.