West Bromwich Albion 1 - Reading 0
Another impressive victory built upon a clean sheet in what was a tricky game for us to round off the Xmas fixtures.
Couldn’t really complain about the starting lineup other than perhaps Dike over BTA, but sensible use of the squad.
And for the first 20 minutes or so we absolutely battered them - not quite sure how we didn’t score a couple but I recall an unbelievable point blank save from Mulumby and Townsend hitting the post.
Key to the win was remaining calm and patient having not scored when we were dominating so much and Reading did come into it after that. We had another huge Palmer save to keep us level as they breached our back line for once, but we were mostly on top for the half without finding a cutting edge.
Second half was similar and as it went a bit flat Grady came on for Phillips as we tried to turn the screw.
It was looking like we’d need BTA to inject some life in to us when Mulumby, who under Corberan very deliberately helps to overload our right hand side as soon as we get the ball, darted out there again but instead of coming back to Wallace or Furlong he hit a first time cross and Dike gambled in front of a sleeping defender to nod home at the front post.
It was his last action as CC made the changes to get Rogic and BTA on. Reading pressed a bit but we stood firm and might’ve got a second with better decision making on the break, and Wallace nearly engineered a goal through great wing play, awareness and pace to break the lines and round the keeper out wide before crossing to BTA who couldn’t head a difficult chance on target under pressure.
There was a heart in mouth moment when with a couple to go we lost a near post header from a corner for the first time and the Reading player headed over from under our bar.
A couple of final changes helped run the clock down and TGH should’ve done a lot better when played in 1v1 by BTA but scuffed just first touch.
We held out and demonstrated that we can find a way to win - a promising sign.
The protests continue to raise awareness and it feels like they’re helping to build that unity between fans, the coaches and the team rather than drive any division.
Our upturn in form, delivered via absolute determination, commitment and increasingly style from our players and manager have got the place rocking - it reminds you what a special place for good football the Hawthorns is and that if these things are given honestly, the crowds will come and the tickets will sell home and away even when times are tough. We’re still an attractive proposition for new owners if we can get it just right enough on the pitch. That gives me hope.
Others weren’t on long enough to contribute much but good to see Semi back.
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