Tuesday, May 21, 2024

West Brom solidify play-off position with routine win over relegated Rotherham

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 10 Apr 2024

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West Brom beat already-relegated Rotherham 2-0 at The Hawthorns to consolidate their place in the Championship play-offs.

Brandon Thomas-Asante and John Swift secured the win as the Baggies took full advantage of slip-ups by the chasing pack.

The major talking point came in the lead up to Swift’s goal from the penalty spot. Referee Geoff Eltringham adjudged defender Lee Peltier to have handled the ball despite clearly being outside of the penalty area.

Rotherham initially negated Albion’s efforts to make an early breakthrough. Swift had an opportunity when he met Tom Fellows’ low centre from the right but he guided his effort over the bar.

Thomas-Asante then was played in, over the top, by Swift, but the striker forced his shot wide from a tight angle.

West Brom went ahead midway through the first half. Celtic loanee Mikey Johnston sent Adam Reach racing down the left and he delivered a sharp low ball for Thomas-Asante, who could not miss from a couple of yards out.

Rotherham, having fallen behind, might have allowed the floodgates to open but they themselves began to play with more purpose.

Hakeem Odoffin sent a deep cross from the right which Cafu ambitiously met on the volley but ultimately hammered his half chance well over the bar.

West Brom doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time, however, in the most controversial of circumstances. Thomas-Asante leathered a shot from around 25 yards out which appeared goalbound, only for the ball to strike Peltier.

Referee Eltringham paused for a moment before pointing to the spot – despite Peltier appearing to be a number of yards outside of the penalty area.

The decision was greeted with disbelief by The Hawthorns and understandable bemusement by Rotherham, who had assistant head coach Rob Kelly booked for his protests. Swift duly converted to hand the hosts a half-time cushion.

Rotherham returned to the field undeterred and so easily could have pulled one back immediately when Sebastian Revan burst into the penalty area and laid the ball off for his captain Oliver Rathbone, who fizzed a shot just wide of Alex Palmer’s post.

Revan himself then tested Palmer but the Millers were grateful to their own keeper Viktor Johansson, who stopped Thomas-Asante adding to West Brom’s tally after he was superbly played in by Johnston.

The hosts’ top scorer then blazed an effort over the bar from six yards out in what was his final act before he made way for the returning Josh Maja in the closing stages.

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