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Manchester City Drop Points Against West Ham 

By Ibrahim Taiwo, The Nigerian Voice Sports
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Relegation-threatened West Brom picked up their first point at Etihad Stadium since 2005 as goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made two point-blank stoppage-time saves to deny Manchester City victory.

City seemed on course for their customary home win against Albion when Ilkay Gundogan applied a first-time finish to Raheem Sterling's cutback after half an hour.

But the midfielder's first goal in 22 games was cancelled out before half-time when a volley on the turn from Semi Ajayi, which appeared to be going wide, deflected off Ruben Dias and wrong-footed City keeper Ederson two minutes before the break.

It was the first goal City had conceded in 608 minutes and was followed by a valiant backs-to-the-wall effort from Slaven Bilic's visitors, who defended heroically.

But it would all have counted for nothing without the efforts of Johnstone, who first denied Gundogan, then Sterling in a frenetic finale.

West Brom will take great confidence from the result, even though they remain second from bottom of the Premier League.

However, for City, it was definitely two points they did not expect to drop - leaving them sixth, five points off the top of the table.

The visitors had lost each of their last nine visits to Etihad Stadium and hopes could not have been especially high on their latest trip, given they had won once all season and that success - at home to bottom club Sheffield United - was the only time they avoided defeat in a run of six matches.

Little wonder Bilic's future is the topic of major debate - or that the Baggies boss looked edgy as he tried to urge his team on during an opening period that could hardly have been more one-sided.

City enjoyed 77% possession, yet at the start of the half came a golden chance that West Brom should have taken - and at the end of the first period, a scruffy one that they did.

With a restricted budget, Bilic pushed the Baggies board to pay Huddersfield £15m for striker Karlan Grant on deadline day.

A return of one goal from nine games before this one is not good enough - and he will not have many better chances than the one he had after seven minutes - straight in front of goal, 10 yards out, with only Ederson to beat.

Grant's shot lacked conviction, was not close enough to the corner and allowed the keeper to save.

Ajayi's deflected equaliser was unexpected, but it gave West Brom something to cling to. In partnership with Dara O'Shea, Ajayi was outstanding in the second half.

Despite offering no threat at the other end, the visitors' collective effort was far better than anything previously produced in a season where they had conceded 25 goals in their first 12 games, more than any other side.

And Johnstone's heroics at the end ensured the defenders' efforts gained a tangible reward.(BBC)