- Albion secure Premier League safety with a game to go
- Seagulls finish home campaign with 0-0 draw against Newcastle United
- Adam Webster closest to breaking the deadlock in the second half
- Graham Potter's side finish the season at Burnley on Sunday
Albion can prepare for a fourth season in the Premier League after a goalless draw against Newcastle at the Amex secured safety with a game to go.
It’s a scenario Albion would have settled for when they resumed the season a month ago only two points clear of the drop. Since then they have averaged more than a point a game and got the point they needed with a disciplined performance at the Amex.
The Seagulls have not lost in six top-flight meetings with Newcastle and this game followed a not dissimilar pattern to the goalless draw at St James’s Park back in September with Albion enjoying the bulk of possession.
Those six games have only produced four goals so a goal feast was probably expecting too much. Newcastle employed a back five and Albion found it hard to create clear-cut chances, although Adam Webster went close in the second half with a piledriver that forced Martin Dubravka to save at full stretch.
Albion made three changes to the team which had drawn 1-1 with Southampton. Aaron Mooy, Yves Bissouma and Pascal Gross came in with Glenn Murray, Solly March and Davy Propper dropping to the bench. Midfielder Alex Cochrane, 20, was also among the substitutes.
Neal Maupay struck the post with an early volley, but the assistant’s flag was already up for offside, and Lewis Dunk forced Dubravka to make a routine save when he met Pascal Gross’s free kick with a header in the 12th minute.
Pascal Gross flashed a shot across the face of goal and although the home side looked the more threatening, Dubravka wasn’t seriously tested until the 28th minute when Maupay dispossessed Matt Ritchie in the box and picked out Trossard, whose low effort was pushed around the post by the keeper.
Yves Bissouma and Gross were booked for fouls, along with Ritchie for bringing down Tariq Lamptey, before Newcastle mounted their first serious threat in stoppage time when Dwight Gayle met Jonjo Shelvey’s left-wing corner but headed over the bar. In truth, though, the first half had been a pretty tepid affair.
Stephens became the third Albion player to be booked just after the re-start when he pulled back Gayle before Maty Ryan was forced into his first save on 51 minutes when he got down low to push away Miguel Almiron’s near-post flick.
Graham Potter made a double change when Alexis Mac Allister and Solly March came on to try and improve Albion’s play in the attacking third and the Argentinian soon drew a foul from Rose which earned the Newcastle defender a booking.
Two more changes came when Davy Propper and Glenn Murray came on before Albion twice went close to breaking the deadlock with 15 minutes to go when Webster stepped forward and let fly from 25 yards, forcing Dubravnik to tip over at full stretch. Dan Burn then won the ball and found Trossard but he couldn’t keep his shot on target from a decent position in the box.
Newcastle nearly won it with four minutes to go when substitute Andy Carroll met a corner at the far post but couldn’t direct his header on target and in stoppage time the hosts had to repel a couple of corners before a point – and safety – were secured.
Albion: Ryan, Lamptey (Duffy 85), Dunk, Webster, Burn, Gross (Mac Allister 58), Stephens, Bissouma (Propper 73), Mooy (March 58), Trossard, Maupay (Murray 73).
Unused subs: Button, Cochrane, Montoya, Connolly.
Referee: Simon Hooper