Premiership: West Bromwich Albion 1 Portsmouth 1
West Bromwich Albion endured more frustration as they dominated proceedings against a jaded looking Portsmouth side but were once again unable to turn pressure into points.
It may have been only Albion’s second point in eight games but Tony Mowbray’s side should have claimed their first victory since the start of October but missed a host of chances.
Once again they were unable to make the most of the numerous openings they created and held a slender lead thanks to a poacher’s striker from captain Jonathan Greening until Peter Crouch’s shot was deflected over Scott Carson in the 59th minute to give Pompey a share of the spoils.
Mowbray has regularly lamented the lack of a striker with the quality to turn Albion’s promising play into victories and just like last week’s defeat at Wigan, it was the lack of a killer touch that cost them a vital win.
After their exploits on Thursday night in Germany, when engine failure delayed their flight home, and the uncertainty created by the announcement earlier in the day that the club was up for sale, Portsmouth looked vulnerable, and Albion were on top throughout the first half.
Abdoulaye Meite could have put them in front after 15 minutes with a towering header from a Chris Brunt cross which flashed wide and then Greening played in James Morrison who fizzed his shot across the face of goal.
Brunt went within a whisker of opening the scoring with a curling effort from the corner of the box after more elaborate but effective inter-play involving Greening and Miller, and it looked like it would be another one of those afternoons for Albion.
Their luck changed six minutes before half-time when Sol Campbell was penalised after grappling with Miller 20 yards out and Brunt’s superb curling free kick cannoned back off the crossbar and to the feet of make-shift striker Greening who volleyed the rebound home.
It was the least Albion deserved for their first half display and they could have added to it in the second half as another fantastic ball from Brunt picked out Miller and the young striker’s low strike was saved at full stretch by David James.
They were to rue their wasteful finishing ten minutes later when Crouch, who had been shackled superbly by the combination of Meite and Jonas Olsson, latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out and his strike took a slight deflection that lifted the ball over Carson and in off the underside of the bar.
It was a bitter blow for Albion but they could have regained the lead almost immediately. However, James produced a fine save with his feet to deny Miller yet again.
The Albion striker’s afternoon got worse as he was stretchered off soon after following a collision with James on the edge of the area
Both sides could have grabbed a winner in the final minutes as the game switched from end-to-end. For Pompey, Glen Johnson fired wildly over when he was well placed on the edge of the Albion area and Scott Carson almost pushed the ball into his own net when he fumbled a tame Johnson cross but he managed to scramble back to flick the ball away.
Morrison had a great chance right at the death but his low shot from the edge of the area was pushed away again by James.
Scorers: Greening (39) 1-0; Crouch (58) 1-1
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-5-1): Carson, Zuiverloon, Meite, Olsson, Robinson, Morrison, Borja Valero (Bednar 67), Greening, Koren, Brunt, Miller (Moore 76). Subs: Kiely, Cech, Barnett, Kim, Filipe Teixeira.
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Pamarot, Davis, Diop, Belhadj (Little 46), Kranjcar, Defoe, Crouch (Kanu 90). Subs: Ashdown, Hreidarsson, Nugent, Mvuemba, Wilson.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Bookings: Albion - Olsson (foul). Portsmouth - Diop, Johnson (both fouls)