Even the reintroduction of 6,000 noisy Albion fans could not draw a win from the relegated Baggies, beaten by a strong West Ham side destined for Europe. A disjointed second half performance was followed by the announcement of Allardyce departing at the end of the season.
Allardyce opted for the one change from the last minute defeat to Liverpool, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles coming in for Diangana. An odd choice, considering the former has only one game left in his loan spell with the Baggies, resulting in a pretty much full strength Albion side going into the tie.
The first half was very much a mixed bag for the Baggies – dominating most of the half, whilst individual errors led to moments of panic, most notably coming in the form of a penalty to the Hammers within two minutes.
Sam Johnstone shouldered an already falling Antonio following a poor Ajayi pass back to draw Michael Oliver to point to the spot. Could a nightmare season finish off in an even worse way for the Baggies?
Luckily for Sam, the foot of the post came to good use to deny a Declan Rice penalty. Perhaps there would be something for the 6,000 Albion fans present to cheer about.
The Baggies looked rejuvenated after the miss, playing good football through the midfield. Conor Gallagher had a particularly notable half, seemingly buoyed by the returning fans, showing real dedication in every tackle and loose ball he pursued.
Robson Kanu also played well in the first 30, with good hold up play, possibly looking for a spot in Albion’s Championship outfit.Embed from Getty Images
The breakthrough came in the 27th minute for the Baggies, with a superb Matheus Pereira corner curled directly into the near corner of the goal. A moment of superb individual brilliance, highlighting the brilliant season he has had, surely headed for a Premier League side in the upcoming transfer window.
It was nothing short of what Albion deserved though, their first half performance had been good, massively outplaying the Hammers for much of the first half.
In first half stoppage time however, a contemptuous Soucek tap in dragged back a lucky goal for West Ham going into the break. Knocked across the six yard box by Benrahma, Soucek appeared to be in an offside position following a VAR check, however this was not the opinion of the officials in Stockley Park so the goal stood.
Neither side made any changes going into the second 45, but Albion did seem to lose their shape in the opening exchanges, with the encounter becoming a back and forth affair.
However, hold on, Albion did for the majority of the second half, with a couple of heart-in-mouth moments, including an Aaron Cresswell freekick coming off the outside of the post, and a Pablo Fornals effort kept out by Johnstone’s feet.
The Albion just couldn’t seem to find the final touch despite the best efforts of Conor Townsend and Darnell Furlong.
There were some clear cut chances, notably an Ajayi prod from a metre or so out, straight at the keeper, and a floated Matheus Pereira ball, which failed to come to fruition, despite a mix up in the box.
West Ham made the breakthrough from a Cresswell corner, floated towards the back post and nodded down by a towering Ogbonna, to crush the jubilant atmosphere inside the Hawthorns. This was followed 6 minutes after by an 88th minute Michail Antonio goal, that put a dampener on what would prove to be Allardyce’s last game in charge at the Hawthorns. Played in by Lingard on the break, Antonio finished well to put it past Johnstone into the bottom left hand corner.Embed from Getty Images
Despite the introductions of Diangana, Grant and Diagne, the Baggies fizzled out in the last 10, to end a performance that has in many ways been characteristic of their season: fleeting bright moments, poor missed chances and a stronger opposition offering the final blows.
A dismal end to the game offered no relief for the crowd inside the Hawthorns despite their best efforts. The Albion need to do some much needed soul searching now, from the pitch to the boardroom, to clear out the dead wood and start a fresh chapter in the history of our club.
Allardyce may be gone, but our hopes of an immediate return to the big time, certainly are not.
Ratings: Johnstone (6), Townsend (7), Bartley (6), Ajayi (5), Furlong (6), Maitland-Niles (6), Yokuslu (6), Pereira (8), Gallagher (9), Philips (7), Robson-Kanu (6)
West Brom: Johnstone, Townsend, Bartley, Ajayi, Furlong, Maitland-Niles (Diangana 69′), Yokuslu (Grant 85′), Gallagher, Philips, Pereira, Robson-Kanu (Diagne 89′)
Unused Subs: Robinson, Peltier, Button, O’Shea, Gardner-Hickman, King
West Ham: Randolph, Coufal, Dawson, Cresswell, Soucek, Rice, Fornals (Diop 89′), Lingard, Benrahma (Bowen 72′), Antonio
Unused Subs: Balbuena, Yarmolenko, Noble, Fredericks, Johnson, Trott, Odubeko