Pardew ad­mits ‘galling’ late de­feat all but seals West Brom’s rel­e­ga­tion

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Jeremy Wil­son at Dean Court

West Bromwich Al­bion have grown ac­cus­tomed to los­ing, but judg­ing by the ut­terly dis­traught de­meanour of man­ager Alan Pardew, this felt most sick­en­ing of all of their eight straight de­feats.

“It’s galling,” he sim­ply said af­ter see­ing his team hold a de­served lead un­til the 77th minute but just as the words “great es­cape” were be­ing op­ti­misti­cally mur­mured in the away end, Bournemouth struck twice and cleared off the line in a dra­matic fi­nale.

It was a win that vir­tu­ally guar­an­tees their Pre­mier League sta­tus for a fourth sea­son and surely also leaves West Brom with­out any re­al­is­tic chance of re­cov­ery.

The gap to West Ham United in 17th is now 10 points with seven matches left, and hav­ing lost 24 points al­ready this sea­son from win­ning po­si­tions, even Pardew strug­gled to make a case for their sur­vival.

“It is get­ting near the last chance saloon,” he said. Asked if the gap was now too wide, he added: “If you look at our record since the start of the year, you have to say yes. We have to bat­tle on. That could eas­ily have been a win.”

The sheer hope­less­ness of the sit­u­a­tion seems now to mean that Pardew will not be re­placed be­fore the end of the sea­son de­spite a des­per­ate record of just one league win since he was ap­pointed in Novem­ber. He had clar­i­fied his po­si­tion be­fore the match with the club’s own­ers, and while Le­ices­ter City as­sis­tant Michael Ap­ple­ton is un­der­stood to be a sum­mer op­tion, an im­me­di­ate change is un­likely.

Pardew also de­nied the ex­is­tence of a break clause this sum­mer that would al­low him to be re­placed with­out com­pen­sa­tion af­ter rel­e­ga­tion.

“I’ve a con­tract for an­other three years and have to keep fight­ing and show­ing pride. That is what I am go­ing to do,” he said.

With Paris St Ger­main’s on-loan mid­fielder Grze­gorz Krychowiak only among the sub­sti­tutes af­ter be­ing fined for his re­sponse to be­ing taken off last Pardew’s play­ers cer­tainly per­formed like they fully sup­port him. “Wake them up, Ed­die,” shouted one Bournemouth fan in the di­rec­tion of man­ager Ed­die Howe as the first-half ended, and West Brom were re­warded for their pos­i­tive ap­proach within four min­utes of the re-start.

Kieran Gibbs de­liv­ered an ex­cel­lent cross to the far post, Salomon Ron­don rose to head back across the six-yard area and Jay Ro­driguez turned in front of Steve Cook be­fore shoot­ing past As­mir Be­govic.

The goal did rouse Bournemouth, but with West Brom de­fend­ing deeply, they strug­gled to trans­late pos­ses­sion into clear chances.

They were gifted a route back into the game when Jor­don Ibe cut in­side, and the bounce on his rel­a­tively tame but dip­ping shot was badly mis­judged by goal­keeper Ben Fos­ter.

Still West Brom re­treated, and when Craig Dawson fouled Josh King in the 89th minute, Stanis­las sent the free kick over the wall in aim­ing for the top left cor­ner, and hav­ing got suf­fi­cient dip on his shot, Fos­ter was un­able to re­cover his ground.

West Brom sub­sti­tute Matt Phillips did then have an in­jury-time header cleared off the line by Charlie Daniels but, hav­ing again ab­sorbed so much self-in­flicted dam­age, the wider task al­ready looks fu­tile.

Bournemouth 4-4-2 Be­govic 6; Fran­cis 6 (Daniels, 17), Cook 6, Ake 6, Smith 6 (Mous­set, 57); Ibe 7, Gosling 6, Cook 6, Stanis­las 7; King 7, Wil­son 5 (De­foe, 73). Subs Boruc, Sur­man, Pugh, Fraser. Booked Smith. West Bromwich Al­bion 3-5-2 Fos­ter 5; Hegazi 5, Evans 6 (Phillips, 77), Dawson 6; Nyom 7, Brunt 6 (Field, 82), Ya­cob 6, Liver­more 6, Gibbs 6; Ro­driguez 7 (Rob­son-Kanu, 86), Ron­don 7 Subs My­hill, McClean, Burke, Krychowiak. Booked Dawson, Liver­more. Ref­eree Gra­ham Scott (Ox­ford­shire).

Look of doom: Alan Pardew watches his West Brom side lose nar­rowly to Bournemouth, a re­sult he ac­knowl­edged is likely to cost them their place in the Pre­mier League

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