In his programme notes before Saturday’s game against Plymouth Argyle, West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Mowbray says he will emphasise the importance of unity.

That his pre-match comments will come after hundreds of fans left the Hawthorns early during their game against Hull City, at a time when their side was trailing by a solitary goal and with seven minutes plus injury time to play, is merely coincidental.

But the deserters brought home a stark reminder about the fickle nature of some football supporters; in the ten minutes that they missed, there was a goal-line clearance at one end and Zoltan Gera spurned a gilt-edged opportunity to equalise at the other.

Mowbray believes the act was born out of frustration and that the Baggies faithful decided to leave the ground instead of booing his side off the pitch.

It may not have been an Albion display that fans have come to expect - but it far from warranted jeering.

Mowbray said: "I think supporters - like the media - are results-driven at times.  They are not all the time, but I think people who leave early are just frustrated and would rather go than boo their team at the end of the match.

"It is understandable, and it is our responsibility not to let it happen too often. There have been many times this season when the supporters have been bouncing right until the end and enjoying the atmosphere.

"We have to make sure we can get back to that."

Mowbray does not believe an emptying stadium adversely affects the players but on more than one occasion this season he has suggested a bubbling Hawthorns has helped his side.

He added: "Lots of fans leave games early.  Even Arsenal supporters leave their stadium for whatever reason.  The players have just got to get on with their jobs, as we all do.

"The positive for me is that there are still plenty of games to go in this league and lots of opportunity for us to be very competitive at the top of the division by the end of the season.

"But the only way we are going to do that is by everybody sticking together. It was not through lack of effort that things did not work for us on Saturday."

For recent Albion away games the travelling support has been nothing but whole-hearted.

Thousands made the trip to lowly Peterborough United in the FA Cup while the club put on 40 coaches such was the interest in fans wanting to travel to Barnsley.

On top of that, Albion’s 6,000 allocation of tickets for the Fifth Round clash at the Ricoh Arena against Coventry City sold out in quick time.

Mowbray added: "I think I should reiterate how good the performances have been from the supporters this season.

"The expectation level is there for us to do well and it is just frustration from their point of view.  It is important that the team sticks together and the supporters keep believing in us.  That is what I will be writing in my programme notes this Saturday.

"We are going to go through spells of frustration, and we are going through one at the moment - but I do not think the performance levels have dropped radically."