Promotion chasers West Bromwich Albion were unable to capitalise on the return of some of their key players against Barnsley, being consigned to yet another draw after travelling to Oakwell.
The Baggies were firm favourites coming into this tie after managing to win two games on the bounce before their trip to South Yorkshire, claiming a much needed away win against fellow high-flyers and local rivals Coventry City in the West Midlands before returning to The Hawthorns to earn a reasonably comfortable 1-0 victory against current strugglers Reading.
However, they have failed to be clinical enough in front of goal for much of the campaign, leading to Fulham and AFC Bournemouth pulling away from Albion in the promotion mix before the duo’s recent inconsistency.
Quiz: What club do these 20 ex-West Brom strikers play for now?
Because of this, the warning signs were already there for Valerien Ismael’s men who couldn’t take this game lightly.
They may not have been troubled at the back, with the likes of Cedric Kipre, Matt Clarke and Conor Townsend all returning to the starting lineup, but it was the same old story for the West Midlands outfit who missed golden opportunities to open the scoring against Poya Asbaghi’s men.
Naturally, a few starters from their victory against Reading dropped out in favour of the senior defensive trio, one of whom was 19-year-old Taylor Gardner-Hickman who was arguably their man of the man against Coventry and the Royals but was forced to take his place on the bench.
Many West Brom fans took to Twitter to deliver their verdict on his omission after a disappointing 0-0 draw – and with this – we take a look at a selection of posts on this subject.
To leave Gardner-Hickman out is an absolute joke.
No wonder why all our academy players left. They must wonder what they need to do to play. #WBA
— Josh (@JoshhhWBA) December 17, 2021
Gardner-Hickman has been voted Man of the Match in every game he’s started.
To not even get on the pitch is a joke.#Wba
— AllAlbionFans (@AllAlbionFans) December 17, 2021
Every club now gives their youngsters more of an opportunity. We’ve got a young lad in Gardner Hickman who’s positively influenced the previous 2 results following a dire run of performances and results and he doesn’t get a minute tonight. Absolutely baffling. 🤯🤯🤯🤯#wba
— Andy Warner (@warnerchief) December 17, 2021
What did Gardner-Hickman do wrong? What did Reach do wrong? What did Molumby do wrong?
Why can’t we learn from past victories? #wba
— Ben Wood (@BenLeviWood) December 17, 2021
I’m concerned that TGH would never have actually got a minute if our squad was at full strength, even though he absolutely deserves to be in the starting XI. Certainly makes me questions Ismaels judgement and favouritism to certain players #wba
— Sunil Patel (@sjpatel212) December 17, 2021
Don't know about you but I'd like an explanation of why TGH doesn't play and Hugill gets 90mins? #wba.
— Mark Mansell (@MarkMansell) December 17, 2021
You can call it trying to manage a player blah blah blah why would you drop a player so inform and with momentum for players who aren’t inform? Hugill Furlong starting is just a joke imo play TGH let him go out again and prove to everyone he deserves a start every game #wba
— Jon Simonian (@_Simonian) December 17, 2021
From arguably the best performance of the season last week to another sterile performance last night. No logic in leaving out TGH, Reach & Mulumby & surely Clearly deserves a chance ahead of Hugill. #wba
— dodgerrrr0207 (@dodgerrrr0207) December 18, 2021