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Steve Bruce denied much-needed win as Norwich rescue point against West Brom

West Bromwich Albion v Burnley – Sky Bet Championship – The Hawthorns
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

West Brom boss Steve Bruce remains under pressure after a contentious Norwich equaliser cost his side just a second Sky Bet Championship win of the season.

The former Canaries defender had to endure jeers from his own supporters following defeat to Birmingham in midweek and he was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road despite the visitors being the better side.

Dara O’Shea’s header had set the Baggies on course for victory but a first Norwich goal for Sam Byram rescued a point for the below-par hosts, with West Brom furious the goal stood as they appealed in vain for handball against the full-back.

Norwich had won their last six league games heading into the meeting as they lived up to their billing as one of the promotion favourites.

However, Dean Smith’s side were ragged and sloppy for large parts of a game they were lucky to take anything from.

The struggling visitors took an early lead, O’Shea drifting in completely unmarked at the back post to head in John Swift’s free-kick.

Swift then saw a penalty claim turned down, hitting the deck following contact from Grant Hanley after Kenny McLean had ceded possession in midfield.

Norwich were surprisingly sluggish in the opening half-hour, failing to test David Button in the Baggies goal with Teemu Pukki and Josh Sargent starved of service.

Out of nowhere, Gabriel Sara almost marked his full league debut for Norwich with a goal as he rattled the crossbar with a strike from an acute angle – the hosts growing increasingly frustrated with the perceived time-wasting from Button.

It was Bruce’s side who threatened after the interval, too, Jayson Molumby and Brandon Thomas-Asante firing just wide of Tim Krul’s left-hand post before Sargent saw an effort deflected behind at the other end.

With the ball not dealt with by the West Brom defence, Norwich drew level in fortuitous circumstances as Pukki’s strike flew past Button via a deflection off Byram.

West Brom’s players were incensed and surrounded referee Thomas Bramall and his assistant Matthew Wilkes claiming the ball had struck Byram on the arm, only for the equaliser to stand.

The former Leeds and West Ham defender was then picked out in the box late on but the West Brom defence did well to clear away with both sides having to settle for a share of the spoils.

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