Sky Bet Championship
The Hawthorns - 8 pm

West Brom 0

Southampton 2

  • Fraser 14'
  • Brooks 73'


IBO Reporter:Spot51

|Sadly, I won’t be writing about extending our unbeaten run following Tuesday night's abomination at Ashton Gate. Difficult to put my finger on what exactly went wrong, but hardly any of ours played at anything like their potential. Couple that with brave opponents willing to take us on all over the park, and the Victorian Saints Southern League's unbeaten record lives on.

I’d completely forgotten AA scored with a late penalty. I guess it was a big deal for his goals total, but it meant nothing on a night we were well beaten by a decent, but by no means great, Championship side. Play like that against the Baggies, and they’ll tear us a new one!

West Brom sit 5th in the table and ought to finish in a play-off berth. They are 11 points adrift of Ipswich so unlikely to disturb the top four (I sincerely hope). However, they are having a pretty good season under Carlos Corberan. The Valencian joined his local team and played for their Youth sides. By 23, he had not progressed beyond the B team and took the brave decision to cease playing and become a coach.

He began working with Villareal’s reserve sides before becoming a fitness coach with the first team. From there, he worked in Saudi before managing two clubs in Cyprus. His next appointment was as U23 Coach at Leeds, where his sides won trophies. He was promoted to Biela’s staff, becoming the Argentinians' sounding board during their promotion season.

In 2020, he took charge of Huddersfield and, in his second season, took the Terriers to the playoff final where Jon Bloody Moss handed promotion to Forest. Carlos resigned (presumably in disgust). His tenure at Olympiakos lasted a few weeks but meant he was able to accept his current role with West Brom in October 2022. They finished the season 9th, so they are doing rather better this term.

West Brom have won their last five home games and had a comfortable 2-0 v Cardiff on Tuesday. A first goal for debutant Mikey Johnstone (on loan from Celtic) and another for the ancient Andreas Weimann (on loan from Bristol City - FFS) did the business.

On the morning of the match, new ownership and a new Chairman (Florida businessman Shilen Patel) were announced. Hopefully, that impact will not have an immediate effect on the already ebullient Baggies. At least Saints won’t be wearing Tuesday’s losing kit as the grey and black gets an airing at the Hawthorns.

Team News

|Flynn Downes and Che Adams were both missing from the squad again, but Russ made four changes anyway. In came Capn Jack, Fraser, Stu and Mara, with Manning, Edozie and the 2 Cherries loanees back to the bench. West Brom were strengthened by captain Jed Wallace returning on the right wing. Russ’s selection gave no hint of who might be marking him.

Tonight's ref is Sam Allison who had a decent non-league playing career before taking up the whistle. He became the first black referee of a Premier League game (since Uriah Rennie 15 years ago) in December.

Embed from Getty Images

David Brooks scoring Saints second of the night and his first goal for the club

Match Report

|We had Eilidh Barbour as Sky’s MC on Tuesday. I thought she just did golf for the BBC. Tonight, we got Prutts abetted by two former players and a local journo who were all rooting for West Brom. Even Messrs Mann and Hinchcliffe on the gantry were rabbiting about the takeover and the great atmosphere in the stadium.

Once we kicked off it became clear Jack was at left back with Will again the deepest midfielder. Shea and Stu were further forward, Mara led the line, and AA was wide right. We immediately took control of the game and pinged the ball about as though Tuesday was just a bad dream.

In the 3rd minute, Furlong blocked a cross, but nothing came from the corner. Soon after, Stu got KWP behind their left back, but his cross (shot?) was too high to trouble the keeper. After the home side’s first foray into our half, the ball was cleared up the line where Corberan trapped it. Maybe he thought it had gone out, but the lino hadn’t flagged, and Sam Alison red-carded him. Off he went down the tunnel.

The clueless home support began the first of many whinges, suggesting the ref wasn’t at it. Saints got on with passing, quickly and purposely and the team in stripes were chasing after the ball. West Brom seemed over-eager when they got forward and hit crosses beyond their attackers. When one went over our centre backs and could have been dangerous, there was Cap'n Jack beyond the far post heading it away.

Mara created a fair chance for AA, but he was still not quite at it and fired his shot straight at Palmer. Our next attack saw Will find Fraser on the left. The Wee Man cut inside, and this shot cannoned off a defender for a corner on the other side. I didn’t see who took this, but it wasn’t Stu who had the ball laid back to him on the right wing. The scot hit a first-time cross that curled high above those in the box. Their right back turned into Mara, who seemed to have arrived there on purpose as the ball dropped to Fraser, whose sweet cushioned volley went back past Palmer and nestled in the corner. 14m gone, and Saints were ahead.

More bitching by Baggies players and fans ensued, but that was as sweet a corner routine as I’ve seen in a long while. We scented blood and piled forward again, winning another corner off Pieters. Stu crossed this one, and THB got on the end of it, but his header hit Swift and went behind for another. This one was cleared, but the home side rarely got into our half before we got the ball back and piled forward again. On 22m, Shea set up AA, but Yokuslu blocked at the cost of another corner.

Saints were right at it tonight. Whatever was missing during the two previous games was back with a vengeance. Adam was certainly getting into good places too. Stu played him in, but he missed the goal, and in our next attack, he went too soon and was flagged offside.

From the half-hour mark, West Brom began to see a little more of the ball and gradually moved the play away from their goal. Stu was getting back well to help Jack and conceded a corner. They kept us back for a while before Wallace gave Yokuslu a shooting chance, which we blocked. As AA carried the ball forward, he was downed by a crude Pieters foul, but the Baggies were in the game now, and Stu was obliged to concede another corner. From this, they worked the ball to Swift, who hit a firm shot from range that flew past Baz’s right-hand post.

Throughout this period, Saints continued to play the ball out from the back. Sometimes, it looked risky, but they got away with it. It clearly aggravated West Brom, as when KWP made a fool of Asante, he was chopped down. This time the Ref took out a yellow card.

In added time West Brom continued to put us under pressure. First, Johnston’s cross dropped to Furlong, whose shot hit Jack and flew wide. The Ref said corner, but Baggies players, fans and pundits all screamed for a penalty. You might get one after a several-minute delay in VAR-land, but in the real world, it looked like Jack’s arm was in front of his body anyway.

Amid howls of protest, the corner came in, and Yokuslu got a touch. Baz was beaten, and the ball looked goal-bound until the boot of Capn Jack somehow hoiked it up and over the bar. Andy Hinchcliffe was stunned by such exceptional defending. This time, the corner was belted away, and the half-time whistle blew. Baggies 0, SFC 1.

Asante was hooked at halftime, with young Fellows coming on up front. Both sides had periods of possession in what looked a more even game. Yokuslu saw yellow for tripping Fraser. Soon after, Pieters conceded a corner. This one reached Jan, and he headed on for Mara, but the young striker’s header was easily saved.

Will fouled Fellows, who tried to step past him, and when he later brought down Wallace near the edge of our box, he should have kept quiet. Instead he gave the Ref verbals and was booked. This was a decent shooting chance. Thankfully, it was Swift taking it (not JWP), and it went up, but not down, and ended in the stand. West Brom was seeing more of the ball now, and we had to block a Mowatt effort before Russ changed things.

On 58m off came Charles and Fraser, replaced by Aribo and Edozie. Stu Armstrong may be the grandad of this team, but the guy can still run. He picked up the ball in his own half and carried it way upfield to win a corner off Furlong. He took it himself, and Mara met it but missed the goal.

We were gradually getting the game back into their half, and Stu was bossing it. Sam Edozie played him in, and his shot bounced off Mowatt for another corner. Whilst this came to nothing at the next break in play, West Brom made three changes. They replaced three forwards, Wallace, Johnston and Swift, with Diangana, Reach and Marshall. Before these had got into the game, Russ made his 3rd swap, Brooks on for AA.

None of this got the ball very far from West Brom’s box as Saints kept the pressure on. Aribo, smarting after losing the AFCON final, was eager to get forward, and his first run set up Edozie, who shot and won a corner off Mowatt. Stu's cross was met by THB, but he could not force a save, and the ball sailed wide.

Saints did what Saints do. We quickly recovered the ball, and Joe Aribo made another break upfield towards their box. He played it wide to Stu, who hit it square to Sam. The youngster moved the ball on towards Brooks, who took a touch to improve his space before turning past Palmer with his left foot. A beautiful team scored by an exceptional footballer. He was delighted to get his first Saints goal and celebrated in front of our fans behind that goal.

West Brom looked broken, but, fair play to them, they got back on the horse and attacked us. First, Reach saw his shot blocked, but they came again; Diangana worked his way into our box on the right before digging out a cross which went by Baz at his near post. Yokuslu launched himself and made decent contact with his head, only to see the huge frame of Baz dive and tip it up and over the bar. The Irish stopper had spent most of the match watching from afar or playing keep-ball with our defenders. To suddenly react like that shows great concentration. He was mobbed by teammates.

The corner needed heading out by Jan, and the next gave Marshall a chance, but he stuck his header wide. Soon after, both sides brought on their final subs. Yokuslu made way for Chalobah and we sent on Rothwell and Sully for Stu and Mara. With no central striker, Russ must’ve told Sully to get up there.

There was not much more goalmouth action from then on. Saints mostly kept the ball as our fans greeted every pass with enthusiastic cries of “Ole!” Hinchcliffe chose Stu as the Sky MoM. In the +5m at the end, the only thing of note was a crude tackle by Kipre on Sully, which went unpunished, but I guess the Ref knew the game was already won. 0-2 and back up to second!

Man of the Match

|This was a vast improvement on Tuesday’s limp capitulation in Bristol. We looked really good again for long periods against what is one of this league’s better sides. They had their moments on either side of halftime, but we scored when we were bossing the game in the first AND last 20 minutes of the game. That is a great habit for our run-in.

There were several good performances from the “Men in black”, but I find myself agreeing with Sky’s choice. Whilst it was sad to see JWP leave, the way Stu Armstrong has blossomed at this point in his career shows all he was not able to when Prowsey was doing it all. He is a smashing bloke and a talented player, and it would be only right and proper to give him another go in the EPL before he goes back to Scotland.


West Brom

  • 24 Palmer
  • 2 Furlong
  • 4 Kipré
  • 15 Pieters
  • 3 Townsend
  • 35 Yokuslu - Booked 50' (Chalobah 81')
  • 27 Mowatt
  • 7 J Wallace (Diangana 65')
  • 19 Swift (Marshall 64')
  • 23 Johnston (Reach 65')
  • 21 Thomas-Asante - Booked 44' (Fellows 45')


  • 6 Ajayi
  • 11 Diangana
  • 14 Chalobah
  • 17 Weimann
  • 20 Reach
  • 25 Marshall
  • 26 Ávila Gordón
  • 31 Fellows
  • 33 Griffiths


  • 31 Bazunu
  • 2 Walker-Peters
  • 21 Harwood-Bellis
  • 35 Bednarek
  • 5 Stephens
  • 24 Charles (Aribo 58')
  • 16 Smallbone - Booked 55'
  • 17 S Armstrong (Rothwell 82')
  • 9 A Armstrong (Brooks 68')
  • 18 Mara (Sulemana 82')
  • 26 Fraser (Edozie 58')


  • 3 Manning
  • 7 Aribo
  • 13 Lumley
  • 19 Rothwell
  • 20 Sulemana
  • 23 Edozie
  • 27 Amo-Ameyaw
  • 33 Dibling
  • 36 Brooks

Match Stats

  • West Brom/Southampton
  • Possession: 37%/63%
  • Shots: 9/13
  • Shots on Target: 2/4
  • Corners: 6/9
  • Fouls: 8/5


  • Referee: Sam Allison
  • Assistants: Craig Taylor and Andrew Fox
  • Fourth Official: Anthony Backhouse
  • Attendance: 25,066


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