West Bromwich Albion bounced back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough as they consolidated second place in the Championship.
Slaven Bilic had been understandably disappointed by the Baggies’ first two performances since the restart and rang the changes for the clash against the Owls.
Darnell Furlong, Semi Ajayi, Jake Livermore and top scorer Hal Robson-Kanu all dropped to the bench while Matt Phillips missed out on a place in the squad completely.
In their place, Dara O’Shea, Kyle Bartley, Rekeem Harper, Filip Krovinovic and Charlie Austin all came into the starting XI.
It was a nervy beginning to the encounter although West Brom settled more than their opponents without really creating anything meaningful in front of goal.
Gradually, as the half wore on, Wednesday came into the game and began to pass the ball around as well as creating a few half chances but didn’t really test Sam Johnstone in the West Brom goal.
In the 37th minute, perhaps slightly against the run of play, it was West Brom who took the lead as Dara O’Shea was pushed over in the box by Moses Odubajo and Charlie Austin cooly converted the resulting spot-kick to fire the visitors ahead.
As the first half drew to a close, Albion created a couple more half chances with the lively Pereira once again showing his importance to the West Brom team.
At half time Wednesday bought on Alessio Da Cruz to replace Rhodes up front. West Brom were now in the ascendency and Bilic decided to make a change as he bought on Callum Robinson for Grady Diangana and it proved to be a wise choice with the Sheffield United loanee involved in the second goal of the game.
Robinson found Gibbs who whipped in a wonderfully inviting cross which Pereira brilliantly glanced beyond the reach of Wildsmith and into the corner of the net.
Harris then had a chance to halve the deficit for Sheffield Wednesday but his shot hit the post and cannoned away to safety.
West Brom boss Slaven Bilic then made a double change as Kamil Grosicki and Robson-Kanu came on for Austin and Krovinovic.
The Midlands side were now in full control and looked back to somewhere near their best during the latter stages of the game. Wednesday were still plugging away with Wickham having a shot blocked by Gibbs.
However, with five minutes to go West Brom put the game beyond all doubt. Robson-Kanu saw a shot in the box blocked and Grosicki worked the ball to Pereira. From 12 yards he then drilled the ball past Wildsmith and into the net to register his eighth of the campaign and secure a crucial win for his side.
Here we take a look at the West Brom supporters’ reaction to the game and their delight at such an important victory:
— Baggies Analytics (@BaggieAnalytics) July 1, 2020
That's more like it 👏👏👏 #SuperSlav
— The Baggies Blog (@TheBaggiesBlog_) July 1, 2020
What a performance lads! Great response in these circumstances
— Ethan (@WBA1968B) July 1, 2020
Great 3 points, much more like us 2nd half , hope this is the start of a good run ⚽⚽⚽🟢🟡
— Carl 1878 🇭🇷💙💚💛 (@baggyboy1878) July 1, 2020
The way we improved after that first goal just showed the confidence of the players flooding back. Passing, movement, pressing, attacking intent, I could see the weight lifting off their shoulders as the game went on! 👏🏼 man of the match was Hegazi, he’s was a brick wall today 💪🏼
— JonW1995 (@JonW1995) July 1, 2020
That's the Albion I remember! A pleasure to watch, fellas.
— Mark Sheldon (@markdsheldon) July 1, 2020