West Brom 1-0 Blackpool: Baggies get off the bottom despite fans protest
West Brom climbed off the bottom of the Championship even after furious Baggies fans turned on owner Guochuan Lai.
New boss Carlos Corberan grabbed his first victory since joining last week after Okay Yokuslu’s late strike earned 1-0 win over Blackpool.
A first home win since August took Albion off the foot of the table, although they remain two points from safety, but came against the backdrop of a protest against Lai with supporters increasingly angry about his running of the club.
Albion fans mobilised against Lai in the 12th minute with the chairman, in charge since 2016, the target of their anger having borrowed £5million from the club during the Covid pandemic.
The home supporters turned on their torches to ‘shine a light’ on the club’s problems, a move planned by group Action for Albion, and chanted for Lai to go while the Baggies continued to struggle on the pitch until Yokuslu’s late heroics.
The hosts bossed most of the first half with little to show for it, although Karlan Grant should have done better than to shoot too close to Chris Maxwell.
There was precious little quality – from either side – with Blackpool offering no threat as they looked for their first win at The Hawthorns since 1964.
Kyle Bartley’s weak header was gathered by Maxwell and the Baggies did at least continue to probe after the break.
Matt Phillips drilled over and John Swift shot wide before Corberan called Grady Diangana off the bench to inject some urgency into proceedings.
The former West Ham winger did exactly that – albeit briefly – and teed up Swift just after the hour, only for Maxwell to come to Blackpool’s rescue with a fine save.
Albion were the aggressors, with Alex Palmer never forced into a serious save, and Callum Connolly blazed the Tangerines’ best effort of a tame performance over with 19 minutes left.
The Baggies kept pressing and finally broke the deadlock with five minutes to go. Blackpool failed to deal with Swift’s corner and when the ball hit Tom Rogic it rolled for Yokuslu to slam in from close range.