Analysis: Weather puts a dampener on clash between West Brom and Wolves

Played out amid an almighty downpour and no fans at The Hawthorns, this was not a classic derby that will live long in the memory, writes Joe Edwards.

A point is no good to Sam Allardyce’s Albion as they stare relegation in the face.

But for Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves, they at least avoided the dreaded feeling of another loss to their fiercest rivals. They are certainly the more satisfied group coming out of this encounter, which come the end was blighted by an absurd amount of rain.

Make no mistake about it, the elements were very much at play. Dark clouds hung over the ground, and the rain was relentless throughout the 90 minutes.

It was weather befitting of a Bank Holiday Monday and even more so of a proper Black Country battle.

Nuno and Allardyce bumped fists before kick-off as The Liquidator blasted through the stadium speakers.

And once the game got going, Wolves captain Conor Coady’s instructions could only be faintly heard because of the constant rain.

Already sodden, there were, unsurprisingly, a few instances of players losing their footing in the early exchanges. Albion looked slightly more assured.

Both sides, though, kept things at a pretty modest pace.

Nuno stood with his arms folded as his charges began to increase the tempo on the half-hour mark – Nelson Semedo and Vitinha going close. Allardyce, meanwhile, felt the need to change things, with the disheartened Dara O’Shea taking a slow walk off.

Large parts of the first half were slow and tedious – the absence of supporters keenly felt – but Wolves, with a little bit of luck after a free-flowing, intricate move, opened the scoring.

The Baggies lot all stood perplexed as Kyle Bartley’s attempted clearance cannoned off Fabio Silva’s standing leg and looped over the helpless Sam Johnstone.

Club-record signing Silva, just as he did in the reverse fixture and not caring a jot how it went in, celebrated with a massive knee slide while Nuno hugged his backroom team.

For the start of the second period, neither manager made a change. However, there was a switch in referee.

Paul Tierney had pulled his calf and Mike Dean, originally down as fourth official, stepped in. Albion stepped things up, too. Sammy Lee was animated on the touchline as Conor Gallagher could have – and really should have – equalised. Rui Patricio puffed his chest out after a superb reaction save to deny the Chelsea loanee.

The Baggies’ persistence eventually paid off, though, as Mbaye Diagne escaped the attention of Romain Saiss and duly tucked away a free header.

Easy as you like and from Wolves’ perspective, old habits dying hard.

In response, Nuno turned to his bench and, namely, Daniel Podence while Allardyce – having been seated for most of the match – screamed for more intensity from his men.

But going into the final 15 minutes, the rain came crashing down at an almost unfathomable rate. It had drowned out the on-pitch noise by this point and affected the action.

Rayan Ait-Nouri – one of three Wolves players currently observing Ramadan – limped off and was replaced by Max Kilman. Saiss, another of those, was moving uncomfortably as well, with the ball no longer bouncing as it usually would.

It made for a less eventful end and, ultimately, the spoils were shared.

As the sun finally came out, Albion’s disappointment was clear to see. Only a win would do.

For Wolves, it could have been better, of course. But after the trouncing at the hands of Burnley last time out, they will take it and move forward.

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