The Warmdown: Woeful West Brom lose unbeaten home run in defeat to Preston North End
Valerien Ismael looks a shadow of the passionate figure seen at the start of the season - Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion's unbeaten league run at The Hawthorns came to an end on Wednesday as they were easily beaten by Preston North End.

Emil Riis opened the scoring as he tapped home a deflected cross after a physical start to the game from Ryan Lowe's men.

Valerien Ismael's Albion showed little attacking promise, as they failed time and time again to keep the ball in their possession.

On-loan Aston Villa man Cameron Archer then polished off the perfect away performance with a debut goal as he headed in from close range.

  • Ismael under pressure

After joining the Baggies following a successful underdog story with Barnsley last season, Ismael has faced a rocky road as manager so far.

Albion are under intense scrutiny from the fanbase, with supporters voicing their frustrations throughout the game.

Sam Johnstone's omission from the squad despite his return from the suspension raised eyebrows from the moment the final XI's were announced.

A reported bust-up behind the scenes lead to his exclusion, with the England international out of contract at the end of the season.

Following a shambolic first-half showing, they went in 1-0 down at half-time and were booed off by a large section of the ground.

Even chants from part of the fanbase about former boss Slaven Bilic were pulled out, along with a mass exodus following Preston's second goal as a sign of their frustrations.

Despite naming a front three of Karlan Grant, Matt Phillips and Grady Diangana, who have scored a combined 15 goals this season, the Baggies failed to produce a shot on target.

Instead, the performance from the entire side was lacklustre and devoid of any quality or passion.

The midfield were incapable of keeping possession with almost every pass finding an opposition player.

At the beginning of the game, positivity was slightly more present in comparison to previous home clashes following a 3-0 victory against Peterborough United last time out.

Ismael certainly has a lot to answer for with that showing from his side, and questions remain regarding his future.

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  • Outclassed by Preston

Although up against an Albion side clearly willing to roll over and take defeat, the Lilywhites deserve credit for their performance as the visiting team.

They began the game by earning the right to play, forcing the issue by being competitive and physical in their defensive play.

At this point it's likely that Lowe realised that there was the possibility to break into the lead, as they began to expand outwards in their style.

Preston worked West Brom out, and gave them a performance that only a side willing to give 100% would be able to compete against.

Alan Browne scorched through the Baggies midfield to set up Archer's goal, and ran the show in midfield, disrupting the opposition's structure.

Restricting the home side to a worrying lack of chances, and beating them in the place where they've been so formidable defensively, the Lilywhites’ supporters are rightly excited about what's to come.

Lowe's adaptability means he could lead North End into more positive times, and this could certainly be the start.

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  • What comes next?

For Albion a trip to The Den to face Milwall comes next and with Ismael under increasing pressure, it's uncertain as to whether he'll see that game out after such a poor performance.

In order to continue their positive momentum, Preston will host Bristol City at Deepdale on Saturday.

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