It was a game of fine margins at Deepdale on Monday night.
Fortunately, West Bromwich Albion have the sort of match-winning quality at both ends of the pitch that 90 per cent of their Championship rivals can only dream of.
Charlie Austin hogged the headlines in the Midlands this morning with his stoppage time penalty sealing a vital 1-0 win for The Baggies away at promotion-seeking Preston North End. But, without another exceptional fingertip save from Sam Johnstone, Slaven Bilic’s side might have spurned their chance to move back to the top of the table.
It is hard to believe, on last night’s evidence anyway, that so many West Brom fans have expressed doubts about the former Manchester United goalkeeper.
Johnstone, a £6.5 million signing in 2018, saved The Baggies skin and not for the first time in Lancashire with a stunning reflex save to deny Daniel Johnson in the second half.
Sure, the one-time Aston Villa loanee is no stranger to the odd slip up but few ‘keepers in the league can match his lightning reflexes. David de Gea, Johnstone’s former mentor at Old Trafford, would have been proud of his Save of the Season contender at Deepdale.
The silence from the critics is deafening.
the more you watch it the better it gets. Best keeper in the league. end.— Carl 1878 (@baggyboy1878) December 3, 2019
Your confidence is showing now. That save was a different level. Keep up the good work.— Leanne (@lensawag1) December 3, 2019
Absolutely quality again Sammy ⚽️— Will (@Will_Ellis17) December 3, 2019
Kept us in it class as usual— FGVWBA1878 (@fgvwba1878) December 3, 2019
You played really well last night some of saves real class— Julie Lloyd (@JulieLl87474599) December 3, 2019
One Sam Johnstone there's only one Sam Johnstone One Sam Johnstoneeeee— James (@JamesWilkoWBA) December 3, 2019
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