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West Brom 0-0 Southampton: Second Championship play-off semi-final ends goalless

West Bromwich Albion's Hawthorns Stadium

There was nothing to separate West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at the Hawthorns as the first legs of both Championship play-off semi-final ties ended goalless.

Having seen Norwich City and Leeds United play out a cagey draw at Carrow Road earlier on Sunday, West Brom and Southampton created far more chances than their fellow promotion contenders, but goalkeepers Alex Palmer and Alex McCarthy were both in inspired form.

McCarthy made two huge stops to deny Grady Diangana, but Palmer stole the headlines with an unbelievable save to keep out Ross Stewart’s deflected effort as both teams failed to seize the initiative ahead of Friday’s second leg at St Mary’s.

While Russell Martin’s Saints will enter that match as favourites to book a trip to Wembley Stadium, Carlos Corberan’s Albion can count themselves unfortunate not to be taking a lead to the south coast after creating more high-quality opportunities in a competitive first leg.

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West Brom made an energetic start as their high press caused a few nervy moments for Southampton, but it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal as Kyle Walker-Peters’ cross-shot deflected narrowly wide.

Albion were hugely fortunate to stay level after 20 minutes, with Palmer making himself big to deny Flynn Downes and Adam Armstrong turning the rebound into the side netting.

While Southampton looked more composed in possession, West Brom’s direct approach allowed them to threaten and they created the best chance of the first half 33 minutes in, with McCarthy somehow keeping out Diangana’s close-range header.

West Brom missed another glorious chance as the lively Michael Johnston crossed for Darnell Furlong on the hour mark, but the right-back could only poke wide of the bottom-right corner on the stretch.

Both goalkeepers then made stunning saves to keep the game goalless in the 78th minute, McCarthy pushing Diangana’s powerful strike away to set Southampton off on the break.

Stewart’s long-range effort took a wicked deflection and seemed to have wrongfooted Palmer, only for the Albion shot-stopper to somehow hook it away with his right foot while grounded.

That was as close as either side came to the breakthrough, though McCarthy was grateful to his defence for bailing him out when he inexplicably gifted West Brom possession in his own area late on.

Picture of Harry Carr

Harry Carr

Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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