West Brom paid a heavy price for starting yet another game slowly as defeat by Preston at Deepdale left them languishing in the Championship relegation zone, with just one win all season.
Before the game, under-pressure boss Steve Bruce described their unwanted record of going a goal down within the opening 15 minutes in eight of their last 11 games this season as ‘ludicrous’.
His words went unheeded however with Albion falling behind after only seven minutes — this time when the unmarked Emil Riis swept home Alvaro Fernandez’s low cross.
Staggeringly, it was only Preston’s fourth goal of the season — and second at Deepdale — but they had also gone close in the third minute when West Brom goalkeeper Alex Palmer made a double save from Sean Maguire and Ali McCann.
Albion worked their way into the game but nearly went 2-0 down when McCann’s shot hit the post just before half-time.
Baggies winger Grady Diangana was a constant threat but Albion largely found it difficult to penetrate the best defence in the Championship — Ryan Lowe’s side have conceded only four goals so far this season.
Jed Wallace forced Preston keeper Freddie Woodman into a fine save just before halftime while Karlan Grant — anxious to make amends for his penalty miss in West Brom’s home defeat by Swansea on Saturday — went close on three occasions as the pressure mounted on Bruce.