West Brom moved off the bottom of the Championship table as they laboured to a 1-0 win over Blackpool at the Hawthorns on Tuesday night.
Carlos Corberan’s side were much the better team but it took until the 85th minute to find the only goal of the game, as Okay Yokuslu fired home after the Tangerines failed to clear a corner.
The victory, which was just the Baggies’ third of the season, sees them move ahead of Huddersfield in the second tier, although the Terriers host Sunderland tonight so could send them back to the bottom.
While Yokuslu was the goal hero on Tuesday night, it was arguably Conor Townsend who was the real hero in Corberan’s side.
As per SofaScore, the former Scunthorpe United man would earn an impressive 7.5/10 rating for his performance, with only Yokuslu rated higher from both sides.
During the 90 minutes, no player would contribute more tackles than the six completed by the left-back, while he also managed two clearances and one interception.
This is even more impressive when you consider that he has averaged just 1.2 tackles and 1.8 clearances per game in the Championship this term, which emphasises how much he raised his game against Michael Appleton’s side in such an important victory on Tuesday.
Towsend wasn’t dribbled past once during the game and helped to shackle the in-form Jerry Yates, who currently leads the way for goals in the second tier, but he would win just two of his nine duels and failed to muster a shot on target, which suggests that West Brom’s left-back well and truly had the better of him.
Jobi McAnuff was full of praise for the 29-year-old last season after some impressive form, and he looks set to be a crucial player in Corberan’s squad again this season as they look to distance themselves from a relegation battle.
McAnuff said: “He’s been massive. Every time we watch a West Brom game he’s a player that really stands out.
“He gives them fantastic width on that left-hand side, great delivery into the box, energy, everything that we associate with an Ismael team. I think he really fits the mould in that position. In terms of consistency, he’s had a really, really good season.
“In his position in the league, he’s one of the better players certainly.”
Some of those qualities are what we witnessed on Tuesday evening, with the full-back certainly producing a ‘massive’ performance for the new Albion boss in just his second game in charge.
Townsend also popped up with one key pass during the game but in truth, it was his solid defensive display which should earn him the plaudits.
It was vital that the Baggies kept Blackpool out given their woeful recent form, and the Englishman was crucial in them keeping a clean sheet and earning the three points.