WEST BROMWICH ALBION are going down, but with style.
Nico Kranjcar’s equaliser effectively confirmed what most people already knew, but Albion boss Tony Mowbray will not compromise his purist footballing principlesas his side sink back into the Championship.
“Would we have beaten Portsmouth if we played eight behind the ball and banged it up front?” he pondered.
“I don’t think it’s over yet. If we win three of our last six, we’ve got a chance. We just have to keep going.”
Jonathan Greening and Graham Dorrans, who deflected a Chris Brunt free-kick into the net, gave the Baggies a 2-1 lead by the 61st minute. But three minutes later Portsmouth, who led through some individual brilliance from Younes Kaboul, were level when Kranjcar rifled a 25-yard free-kick.
The point edged Portsmouth to 14th, four points above the drop zone. “My total focus is to get us across the line,” said manager Paul Hart. “The longer it goes on the more nervous everyone gets. But no complacency will creep into this camp.”
PORTSMOUTH (4-4-2): James 5, Kaboul 7, Campbell 6, Distin 6, Hreidarsson 6, Pennant 7 (Gekas 90, 5), Mullins 5, Hughes 5, Nugent 5 (Belhadj 64, 5), Kranjcar 7, Crouch 6.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Pamarot, Kanu, Utaka, Basinas.
WEST BROM (4-4-2): Carson 6, Zuiverloon 6 (Hoefkens 77, 5), Meite 7, Olsson 7, Robinson 6, Morrison 6 (C Woods 75, 5), Greening 7, Koren 7, Dorrans 6, Brunt 7(Mulumbu 81, 5), Fortune 6.
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Menseguez, Borja Valero, Simpson.
REFEREE: Mike Dean (Wirral) 6: No complaints from either manager, even though there was a late flurry of bookings.
MATCH RATING: *** As frenetic as you would expect.
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