West Brom vs Southampton match report: Saido Berahino makes substitute return but fails to ignite stalemate

West Brom 0 Southampton 0

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After his deadline-day threat never to play for the club again, Saido Berahino was back in a West Bromwich Albion shirt but unable to reprise his match-winning effort from Southampton’s last visit to The Hawthorns, when he scored the only goal in February.

The 22-year-old striker, forgiven by manager Tony Pulis for his ill-advised Twitter reaction to Albion’s refusal to sell him to Tottenham Hotspur,  was introduced 10 minutes into the second half of a contest that produced few chances.

The home fans, who turned against Peter Odemwingie after he openly courted a move to Queens Park Rangers two years ago, were much kinder to Berahino, responding to Pulis’s call to go easy on his errant star, whose behaviour he put down simply to immaturity.

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Saido Berahino returns to a mixed reception at the Hawthorns

Perhaps they thought a friendly welcome made it more likely he would spark a drab game to life after the forward players on both sides had a collectively bad day.

“I was pleased he had such a great reception,” Pulis said. “He is a young boy who has made mistakes. He has just got to learn from them and not make them again.”

Pulis was less pleased with Callum McManaman, his £4.75m January signing from Wigan Athletic, who sought to win a penalty against Southampton’s Matt Targett with as poorly disguised a dive as the Premier League may witness all season. “I don’t like to see that and I’ll be having a word with Callum about that,” the manager said. “I’ve watched it again - I don’t think their player touches him at all. It was a good decision by the referee.”

Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez wasted the best chance of the match after 37 minutes, heading wide from a Dusan Tadic cross after Victor Wanyama - another player who had expected to sign for Tottenham last month - broke up play in midfield.

Goalless draws, of course, do not only result from poor finishing. Albion’s Jonny Evans and Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk both made solid debuts in defence, the £11.5m Dutchman particularly strong in Ronald Koeman’s back four.

“He was impressive and a clean sheet is a positive but we did not do enough with the possession we had,” Koeman said.

West Bromwich Albion: (4-4-2) Myhill; Dawson, McAuley, Evans (Olsson, 86), Brunt; McManaman (McClean, 61), Fletcher, Yacob, Gardner; Lambert (Berahino, 55), Rondon.

Southampton: (4-1-4-1) Stekelenburg; Soares (Yoshida, 75), Fonte, Van Dijk, Targett; Wanyama; Tadic, Ward-Prowse, S Davis, Rodriguez (Mane, 67); Pelle.

Referee: Stuart Attwell

Man of the match: Van Dijk (Southampton)

Match rating: 4/10

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