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West Brom 1-0 Reading: Dike heads winner for in-form Baggies
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Daryl Dike was West Brom’s match-winner against Reading (Mike Egerton/PA)
Daryl Dike was West Brom’s match-winner against Reading (Mike Egerton/PA)

In-form West Brom made it eight wins in their last nine Championship games with a 1-0 triumph over Reading to move within a point of the play-off zone.

Daryl Dike’s goal on the hour mark was the difference between the sides at The Hawthorns but the Baggies could have been out of sight by half-time if they had converted their chances.

The result, on an afternoon which saw home fans continue their protests against owner Guochuan Lai with a second-half show of mobile phone lights, meant Albion have not conceded a goal in open play in 877 minutes.

West Brom tore into the visitors from the start and could have been five goals ahead by the 15th minute.

After Okay Yokuslu drove narrowly wide from 25 yards, the hosts laid siege to the Royals’ goal.

They kept 35-year-old Reading centre-back Scott Dann – playing his first game in 273 days after a long-term hamstring injury – on his toes and forced goalkeeper Joe Lumley into three saves.

Jayson Molumby’s point-blank shot was kept out by Lumley’s one-handed stop to his left after Jed Wallace’s cross had been turned into his path by Dike.

Conor Townsend then headed against the foot of the post after Dike flicked on Wallace’s corner before Townsend’s drive, deflected off Andy Yiadom, was tipped away.

Dike just needed a stronger touch to convert Matt Phillips’ cross before the American’s near-post header from John Swift’s corner was palmed upwards by Lumley.

Former Reading forward Swift and Dike also missed the target with shots as the Baggies hunted down the opening goal.

Nothing was seen of Reading’s attack until the 31st minute, when Junior Hoilett’s shot was superbly blocked by goalkeeper Alex Palmer on the line after Yakou Meite’s

But Albion quickly returned to the attack and Dike’s looping header from Townsend’s cross sailed over the bar.

The goal Albion had been threatening finally came on the hour when, after a move started from the back by a Dara O’Shea pass, Dike got in front of Yiadom and met Molumby’s cross with a diving header to beat Lumley.

The 22-year-old’s second goal of the season proved to be his last meaningful piece of action as he was substituted six minutes later, with Brandon Thomas-Asante coming off the bench.

Thomas-Asante almost got on the scoresheet too, glancing just over the bar after a superb run and cross by Wallace, who beat Yiadom and Amadou Mbengue before rounding Lumley.

Reading had barely created a chance all game but that changed in the last few minutes.

Lucas Joao saw a rising drive deflected over the bar before fellow substitute Baba Rahman nodded over from point-blank range after Tom McIntyre had flicked on Tom Ince’s corner.

But Albion deservedly hung on to continue their impressive run.


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