Rejuvenated West Brom sweep aside Preston thanks to Yokuslu brace
Two goals from Okay Yokuslu continued West Brom’s revival under Carlos Corberan as they beat Preston 2-0 at The Hawthorns.
The Turkish midfielder struck twice as the Baggies made it seven wins in eight games to move to within a point of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places, having been bottom of the table two months ago.
Yokuslu netted in the 36th and 58th minutes to deservedly reward a dominant West Brom, who also hit the bar and the outside of a post and forced three fine saves from Freddie Woodman.
There was a rousing atmosphere too as The Hawthorns hosted its first home sell-out for three-and-a-half years, since the Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Aston Villa in May 2019.
Preston threatened first with a wild attempt from Ryan Ledson and then a low angled drive from Alvaro Fernandez, which was easy for goalkeeper Alex Palmer.
West Brom responded with a low drive from Jayson Molumby which was comfortable for Woodman.
Albion winger Jed Wallace then went desperately close to the opening goal twice within a matter of seconds in the 18th minute.
First his side-footed shot brushed the outside of the far post via a deflection after he had nutmegged Patrick Bauer.
Then his angled curling shot was tipped away by Woodman diving to his left, following the resulting corner.
Albion continued to dominate but their threats were confined to several fruitless corners as Preston defended their box manfully.
Brandon Thomas-Asante’s fierce half-volley was parried by Woodman after Grady Diangana’s lob had left him with only the goalkeeper to beat from the corner of the six-yard box.
Wallace was having an excellent game and, after Yokuslu had put him through, he went close again with a curling shot that needed two saves from Woodman as Thomas-Asante looked to pounce on the rebound.
Thomas-Asante had the ball in the net but was offside before Albion scored the goal they had long been threatening.
Yokuslu cut out a heavy touch from Ledson and advanced before drilling a low shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner of the net.
Albion continued to carry more threat after the break.
Molumby’s curling, dipping effort hit the bar before the Baggies doubled their lead in the 58th minute.
Again the scorer was Yokuslu, slotting clinically past Woodman from 10 yards.
A poor pass out from the keeper put Ben Whiteman under pressure and he was dispossessed by substitute John Swift, who unselfishly squared to his right.
Substitute Daryl Dike curled inches wide from an acute angle as Albion sought a third goal.
Preston hit a post through substitute Ali McCann after Brad Potts headed down Liam Lindsay’s deep cross, but they were well beaten.