'Best keeper in the league' Sam Johnstone silences his West Brom critics with Preston heroics

Fans of West Bromwich Albion let off flares as Dwight Gayle of West Bromwich Albion scores a goal to make it 0-1 the Sky Bet Championship fixture between Stoke City and West Bromwich...

Goalkeeper Sam Johnstone saved Slaven Bilic's West Bromwich Albion during their 1-0 Championship win at Preston North End.

Sam Johnstone of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after the third goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City at The Hawthorns on November 27,...

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.

Fans of West Bromwich Albion let off flares as Dwight Gayle of West Bromwich Albion scores a goal to make it 0-1 the Sky Bet Championship fixture between Stoke City and West Bromwich...

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.

Sam Johnstone of West Bromwich Albion throws the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between West Bromwich Albion and Bristol City at The Hawthorns on November 27, 2019 in West...

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