Big Sam stalemate extends West Brom’s winless run to 18
Everton only seriously threatened late on but Sam Allardyce’s unbeaten run continues
Everton manager Sam Allardyce gives instructions to his team from the sidelines at The Hawthorns. Photograph: Lynne Cameron/Getty Images
West Brom 0 Everton 0
The wait goes on for West Bromwich Albion and all the while the threat of relegation deepens in these parts.
Albion did just about everything but score on an afternoon that was a story of missed chances as the Midlands club saw their winless run extended to 18 Premier League matches, leaving Alan Pardew still searching for his first victory since taking over and only Swansea City below them in the table.
Everton, who only seriously threatened in the final minutes, lived a charmed life at the back at times, and Sam Allardyce’s unbeaten run since he took over at Goodison Park would surely have come to an end if Albion had a proven goalscorer in their ranks. That weakness will have to be addressed when the transfer window opens next week if Albion are to have any chance of climbing out of the bottom three.
The home team started like a house on fire, playing on the front foot and creating three decent chances in the opening 20 minutes alone, yet they were unable to take any of them and the game rather fizzled out for the remainder of the first half as Everton started to come back into it without ever looking like scoring.
The first of those Albion opportunities fell to Salomón Rondón and, stood only a few yards out and with the goal at his mercy, it was hard to know how he failed to get a touch to Jay Rodriguez’s inswinging cross. Four minutes later Matty Phillips broke down the right flank and delivered an inviting centre that Chris Brunt, darting into the area, was just unable to reach with his head.
Then came a sitter as Craig Dawson, arriving unmarked in the six-yard box, headed Phillips’s cross over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
Everton weathered that storm but never really imposed themselves on Albion.
Yannick Bolasie, making his first appearance in more than 12 months, lasted until just after the hour mark before he was substituted, and the winger will clearly need some more time before he is up to speed. Wayne Rooney had travelled with the team to the Midlands and hoped to play a part after missing the Chelsea match through flu but was forced to return home on the morning of the Albion game because he was still feeling unwell.
Rondón must have wished he had taken the day off, too. The striker’s final contribution of the afternoon saw him run onto Brunt’s measured pass and, with only Jordan Pickford to beat, slice a left-footed shot horribly wide.
It was a desperately poor effort and Rondón limped off two minutes later, replaced by Hal Robson-Kanu.
Still it was Albion that continued to make all the running. Kieran Gibbs, getting forward on the left, slid a low centre across the face of goal as Phillips stretched every sinew to try and make contact. Yet Everton came close to snatching victory in the 89th minute, when Oumar Niasse, on for Dominic Calvert-Lewin, was denied by Ben Foster’s outstretched boot.