West Brom and Southampton played out a 0-0 draw at the Hawthorns on Saturday, with Saido Berahinomaking his return for the Baggies.
Just 10 days after declaring he would never play for the club again, the striker received a mixed reception from the home support both before the game and when he came on as a second-half substitute to play for the final 35 minutes and did not have any major chances to score.
In a match of few clear openings, Jay Rodriguez headed wide for Southampton in their best opportunity, with the visitors now without a win in 10 away league matches – a run stretching back to last season.
Tony Pulis’ men, who saw Salomon Rondon shoot over from a decent second-half chance, are left with just one victory from their opening five Premier League matches, as are their opponents.
After a slow opening to the game, West Brom were incensed when Callum McManaman had a penalty appeal turned down. The winger charged down the right having combined superbly with Rickie Lambert and was felled in the box by Matt Targett’s challenge, but referee Stuart Atwell was unmoved, infuriating Tony Pulis on the touchline.
The hosts threatened again when Chris Brunt’s pinpoint corner found Craig Dawson, whose close-range header failed to hit the target.
Southampton had enjoyed plenty of possession but it took until the 35th minute to register their first meaningful attempt when Rodriguez showed excellent strength to outmuscle Dawson before shooting straight at Boaz Myhill.
The visitors came closer still when Dusan Tadic sent in an accurate delivery from the right to find Rodriguez, who had lost Dawson again, but the forward headed wide when it seemed easier to hit the target.
West Brom were the first to come close after the break when Rondon controlled in acres of space inside the Southampton box and blazed his attempt over from a presentable opportunity, with Berahino coming on for Lambert to a mixed reception moments later.
The momentum was starting to go against Southampton, who had a lucky escape when Maarten Stekelenburg fumbled a deflected free-kick and only just managed to gather before conceding with an embarrassing blunder.
At the other end, James Ward-Prowse fired a shot well off-target after Tadic had set him up in what had looked like a promising counter attack.
Substitute Sadio Mane beat debutant Jonny Evans for pace late on but he struck his effort wide as an uninspiring encounter ended goalless.