Reading 0 - West Bromwich Albion 2

Date: Saturday 15th October 2022 
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(3-5-2) Bouzanis, Yiadom, Holmes, McIntyre, Hoilett, Loum, Hendrick, Ince, Guinness-Walker, Carroll (Méïté, 64), Lucas João
Unused subs: Boyce-Clarke, Long, Fornah, Mbengue, Abbey, Senga-Ngoyi
Palmer 8.5, O'Shea 6.8, Kelly 6.9, Pieters 7.2, Phillips 6.6, Livermore 6.3 (Molumby, 80 5.6), Gardner-Hickman 8.8, Townsend 6.8, Wallace 7.1 (Yokuslu, 80 5.9), Thomas-Asante 6.5 (Grant, 66 5.0), Diangana 7.0 (Cleary, 66 6.3)
Unused subs: Button, Furlong, Swift
Manager: Richard Beale (c) 8.8
Scorers: Phillips (25), Gardner-Hickman (72)
Referee: Tim Robinson 6.0
Attendance: 14,235   Home Fans 5.1   Away Fans 8.0

Brendan Clegg:

Absolutely loved that win. A team picked on merit with a game plan, good balance and absolute determination to get a result. Massive credit to Richard Beale - delighted for him.

Whilst there might have been eyebrows about the starting 11 and 3-4-3 formation, it made absolute sense. TGH in the centre offering that middle ground balance between Mulumby’s undoubted workrate with a bit more guile akin to Swift or Rogic.

And for all the moaning about Livermore and Phillips and how we should’ve moved them on long ago, they’ve both shown recently their quality, effort and league know-how compared to younger contenders.

To summarise the match, it wasn’t all pretty or cohesive and we often gave the ball the ball away way too cheaply at times but there was a purpose and plan to us, and unlike under Bruce we didn’t wait for things to happen.

This was exemplified in the first half when Grady skinned 3 players and stayed on his feet when hacked down - only for the ref to bizarrely pull him back and give us foul in a less dangerous position, and again for TGH’s goal when he was professionally fouled after nicking the ball but got up, drove forward and slammed it home before the ref could stop him.

I thought Beale changed it very early/too early and boldly when we were on top with Grant and Cleary on for BTA and Grady, but we got a 2nd so his decision was ultimately justified. It wasn’t all easy and we needed some solid keeping from Palmer and some decent defending to see it through.

Looking forward to Tuesday night - Beale’s blend of humility, hard work, thorough preparation and merit-based selections is enough to get results.

  • Palmer - 7 Earned his clean sheet. So far making the Button faith look totally misjudged.
  • Kelly - 7 Easy pickings, solid and no nonsense.
  • Dara - 7 Better, took no chances.
  • Pieters - 7 Been a good signing, very assured on the ball.
  • Phillips - 7 Classy goal, strong and consistent. Still a bit rusty.
  • Livermore- 7 Has been outstanding recently and more of the same here.
  • TGH - 8 Rapid over 10 yards and is far more a midfielder than anything else. Great goal.
  • Townsend- 6 Solid enough.
  • Wallace - 7 Standard energy and good contribution
  • BTA - 7 Another decent shift. Maybe should’ve scored.
  • Grady - 6 some great play but fluffed crucial chance.
  • Cleary - 6 Got something but some very heavy touches
  • Grant - 5 Didn’t offer much
  • Okay - 5 Still very slow, what’s up?
  • Molumby- 5 Didn’t get going