Lankester inches away from dramatic equaliser
Jack Lankester hit the post with the last kick of the game as Town pushed the promotion favourites all the way in front of 23,000 at Portman Road.
Jay Rodriguez put the visitors in front before the break and they doubled their advantage 15 minutes from time through Harvey Barnes.
Blues had carried a threat in the second-half though and had forced Albion back for spells and Kayden Jackson reduced the arrears on 85 minutes to set up a grandstand finish.
Town had a flurry of corners at the end and Bart Bialkowski joined the attack, with Lankester hitting the woodwork from 20 yards.
Town stayed with the same side for the third successive game, Teddy Bishop taking a place on the bench after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Albion immediately showed their threat with Barnes leading a break, Matt Pennington doing enough to quell the danger.
The Everton loanee then picked up a yellow card for a foul, Cole Skuse and Jordan Spence combining to clear the threat from the free-kick.
Blues responded, Jonas Knudsen’s vicious volley going just over, Jordan Roberts unable to get on the end of Trevoh Chalobah’s cross, while at the other end Barnes was just wide with a snap shot.
Gwion Edwards looked to release Freddie Sears inside the box, Ahmed Hagazi spotting the intention and clearing, then the Albion defender should have given his side the lead seconds later, misfiring from eight yards after the ball broke kindly for him from a free-kick.
The Baggies got the goal they threatened on 26 minutes, Kieran Gibbs heading the ball back across goal and Rodriguez volleying in from close range.
A superb ball from former Town loanee Jake Livermore released Rodriguez who threatened a second, Roberts seeing a shot blocked for Blues, Flynn Downes then doing superbly to stop Barnes getting in.
Chalobah miskicked as he went for a volley from the edge of the box, Hal Robson-Kanu firing over from another Albion break, then Matt Phillips was denied a second for the visitors right on half-time after yet another counter.
Town started the second-half with as foot hard down on the accelerator and Roberts looked for an immediate equaliser, Hegazi doing enough to deflect his shot wide, Chalobah forcing a save from Sam Johnstone after Albion failed to deal with a corner, Pennington then seeing his shot drift wide.
The Baggies continued to carry a real threat on the break and Barnes hit the post after Robson-Kanu’s cross fell to him at the back post, Town going toe-to-toe though, Chalobah dragging a 20 yarder just wide.
Roberts was just shy of getting on the end of Spence’s cross as Town pressed for an equaliser before Blues made a first change with Bishop on for Downes just past the hour.
Bialkowski did enough to keep out Robson-Kanu at his near post, the Wales international then denied by the Town ‘keeper, Spence then robbing Rodriguez when a second goal looked certain.
Bishop showed lovely balance to glide inside before his shot cannoned to safely, Dwight Gayle then joining the action, replacing Robson-Kanu.
Albion’s second came after Town lost possession from a corner, Phillips led the breakaway and Barnes capitalised with a low finish after cutting inside from the right.
Jackson and Jack Lankester immediately entered the fray and Jackson gave Town a lifeline five minutes from time with a cool finish from close range with Lankester so close to a dramatic equaliser with the last kick of the game.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen, Chalobah, Skuse, Edwards (Lankester 76), Downes (Bishop 64), Sears, Roberts (Jackson 76). Subs not used: Gerken, Donacien, Ward, Dozzell. Booked: Pennington.
West Brom: Johnstone, Gibbs, Robson-Kanu (Gayle 75), Morrison (Barry 88), Livermore, Phillips, Barnes, Rodriguez, Adarabioyo, Dawson, Hegazi. Subs not used: Myhill, Mears, Townsend, Hoolahan, Harper. Booked: Phillips, Johnstone.