West Bromwich Albion missed the opportunity to extend their lead at the summit of the Championship table on Boxing Day as they were held to a 1-1 draw with Barnsley.
Slaven Bilic’s side took an early lead when Filip Krovinovic capitalised on a goalkeeping error with a long range effort, but the hosts scored a deserved late equaliser through former Leeds United defender Aapo Halme.
Barnsley had been knocking on the door for some time and recorded 22 shots in all.
Indeed, the result could have swung in the relegation threatened side’s favour if it weren’t for the heroics of Sam Johnstone in West Brom’s goal.
And the quality of Johnstone’s display was acknowledged on social media in the aftermath of proceedings, with fans lavishing praise in their numbers…
Sam Johnstone masterclass
— Jack 💚💛 (@ftblJackv2) December 26, 2019
Sam Johnstone superb!
— The Albion Fanatics (@AlbionFanatics) December 26, 2019
We looked tired as hell and probably should’ve lost. But we’re still unbeaten, onto the next. Thanks Sam Johnstone.
— Lauren 🦈 (@LaurenWBA) December 26, 2019
Sam Johnstone was unreal today top performance
— stokesey (@stokesey16) December 26, 2019
Sam Johnstone has been fantastic today #wba
— Jonathan Pratt (@JonathanPratt_) December 26, 2019
Amidst the pool of adjectives and gushing praise, one fan suggested that their goalkeeper was the undisputed choice for the man of the match award.
Sam Johnstone our Man of the Match today no argument. #WBAFC
— Linda Seeley (@lindawba) December 26, 2019
But it hasn’t always been a unanimous love-in for Johnstone.
The goalkeeper has been scrutinised for his performances in the past, and two fans suggested he has done enough to silence those doubters once and for all following another outstanding individual display.
Any chance we can pack up the questioning Sam Johnstone talk now? Worth his place in team as much as anybody on this form, and include Sawyers, Livermore, Pereira et al in that. Time to move on from Ben Foster & appreciate what we have now. #wba
— Dave (@DaveWBA1878) December 26, 2019
After a good start, we are lucky to be ahead.
— matthew marsden (@matthewdmarsden) December 26, 2019
Finally, one fan has labelled the 26-year-old as a Premier League standard stopper.
The true test of that particular claim could well be looming on the imminent horizon in 2020…
Sam Johnstone is a premier league keeper end of
— 𝐂𝐚𝐢𝐭𝐥𝐢𝐧 🔴⚪️🇦🇹 (@AapoMasterclass) December 26, 2019