West Bromwich Albion’s brave attempt to avoid relegation was finally ended after the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool confirmed Championship football at The Hawthorns next term.
The result was harsh on Albion after a spirited performance deserved better. However a combination of schoolboy errors in defence, poor finishing and bad luck summed up the Baggies’ season in a nutshell.
With Albion knowing a defeat would send them down for the third time in nine seasons the hosts started brightly. Jonathan Greening had a volley wonderfully saved by Pepe Reina in the Liverpool goal inside five minutes as Albion pushed for an opener. The Baggies continued to press however it Liverpool who opened the scoring after a basic error from Shelton Martis allowed Steven Gerrard a free run on goal he gladly accepted and chipped the on-rushing Dean Kiely.
After the break it was all Albion with the Baggies again on the wrong side of a referring decision when Marc-Antonie Fortuné was upended with the goal at his mercy. Referee Martin Atkinson somehow failed to award the spot-kick and give Albion a relegation lifeline. Just three minutes later the Albion’s injustice was compounded when Dirk Kuyt secured the points after an individual effort.
The goal did not dampen Albion’s spirit as the rain came down with Luke Moore hitting a post, Marc-Antonie Foturné heading over from close range before he had a goal ruled out for offside.
After the final whistle had confirmed Albion’s relegation there was a strong show of unity and support for manager Tony Mowbray and his players during their tour of the pitch in thanks for the unrivalled support from the Hawthorns hoards.
"My overriding feeling today is one of disappointment for the supporters because we've been relegated," a frustrated Tony Mowbray said.
"We are frustrated because today's game epitomised our season.
"We had a lot of great play and created chances and yet we gave them a goal from nothing.
"They didn't have to work too hard for it.
"That is us, really, and there is frustration that we are a better team now than we were at the start of the season.
"We have grown into the Premier League.
"We have all learned lessons along the way and hopefully we can use them next season in the Championship.
"The experience the players have gained over the last ten months has made them better players and improved them mentally.
"You get 38 chances to win matches and we haven't won enough.
"We are where we are and the league table doesn't lie."