Brighton started the game on the front foot. Lamptey was finding lots of space down the right hand side, with his pace and agility causing problems. Brighton’s frontman Maupay had the ball in the net around the 15 minute mark but he had strayed offside.
West Brom were continually looking to exploit the space in behind what was a cumbersome Brighton defence with direct runs, however Brighton held firm and continued to be a menace on the reply.
Johnstone marked his 100th appearance with another stunning save to keep the game level halfway through the first half.
Brighton’s dominance would pay off before halftime after a goal bound clearance by Ivanovic cannoned back off Livermore and into the empty net.Embed from Getty Images
Albion’s best spell of the game came in the final minutes of the first half. Even then they did little to present any threat; with many of their passes traversing the Brighton defence.
Bilic’s team talk seemed to have sparked some life into the team that had previously looked way out of their depth. They enjoyed some good spells of pressure but the hosts were again comfortable to sit back and bide their time.Embed from Getty Images
The hour mark saw the introduction of Edwards and Robinson and a switch of formation as Pereira moved into a more central role. This tactical decision was rewarded quickly as Pereira saw his shot flash wide from the edge of the area. It was much better from Albion in general as Pereira continued to show flashes of last seasons form in what is his favoured role.
With 15 minutes left to play a trademark effort from Pereira left Ryan rooted to the spot as his shot struck the outside of the post. For the first time in the game the baggies looked the more likely to score.
Albion’s persistence finally paid off. Grant who was to be imminently replaced by Phillips latched onto a low Robinson cross, and following a nice feint lashed the ball home to equalise.Embed from Getty Images
A game of two halves is what we have become accustomed to this season with the Albion. Tonight was no different. After what was a lacklustre first half they came out inspired during the second half.
The introduction of Robinson and Edwards certainly helped as both offered more than those who they replaced. Pereira showed cameos of what he can offer from a more central role; his second half performance will surely prompt Bilic to consider this for the upcoming game against Fulham.
Grant, who received little service throughout the game, proved his worth with a fine finish that topped off an encouraging end to the second half in which West Brom were unlucky to not nick all three points.
Basing things off the second half display they will be confident that they can pick up their first win against Fulham. The tactical switch freed up Pereira and the more attacking nature of the lineup kept the hosts on the defensive. As ever consistency will be key, too many times have Albion been undone by poor spells in the game which have seen their hopes of a win dashed- something Bilic will be all too aware of.
Match Ratings: Johnstone (8); Furlong (5), Ivanovic (6), Ajayi (7), Townsend (6); Livermore (5) , Gallagher (7), Krovinovic (7); Pereira (7), Grant (7), Diangana (6).
WBA: Johnstone; Furlong, Ivanovic, Ajayi, Townsend; Livermore (C) (Robinson 62′), Gallagher, Krovinovic; Pereira, Grant (Phillips 85′), Diangana (Edwards 62′).
Brighton: Ryan, Lamptey, White, Webster (C), Bissouma, Maupay, Trossard (Alzate 79′), Lallana (Gross 60′), March (Mac Allister 70′), Burn, Veltman.