RELIEF: Robinson scores first goal in three months in Baggies’ victory
PA - Tim Goode
Callum Robinson hit his first club goal for over three months and helped a Covid-19-hit West Brom to a hugely deserved 1-0 win against struggling Reading at The Hawthorns.
Robinson, whose last Baggies goal was on August 18, netted just after the hour after the home side missed a hatful of chances – with the former Preston forward the most guilty party.
A second successive victory for Valerien Ismael’s outfit lifted West Brom to within three points of second-placed Bournemouth and extended the only unbeaten home record in the Sky Bet Championship to 11 matches.
And it was most welcome as they were missing three defenders – Matt Clarke, Semi Ajayi and Conor Townsend – through coronavirus and midfielder Grady Diangana through illness.
Robinson was guilty of missing three early opportunities.
First his low shot on the turn was comfortable for goalkeeper Luke Southwood, then he dragged a drive wide from 20 yards.
But it was Albion midfielder Alex Mowatt who forced the first serious save when his firm drive was tipped around the post by Southwood.
Robinson glanced wide after Liam Moore missed Adam Reach’s cross, Karlan Grant blazed over and then Jayson Molumby sent a 30-yard drive straight at Southwood as Albion continued to push for the opener.
Clean-through Grant went closest to scoring though after Moore struggled to deal with a high ball, but the forward’s shot was clawed away by Southwood.
It was all one-way traffic and Robinson sent a looping header over from a cross from Reach.
Reading striker Andy Carroll was an unlikely defensive hero for his side after twice heading off the line.
First the former Newcastle striker got his head to Mowatt’s inswinging corner that looked like it might have crept under the bar, recovering to thwart Robinson’s bouncing follow-up with a diving header.
Reading’s only chance of the first half came just before the interval.
Tom Dele-Bashiru raced on to Alen Halilovic’s pass only to lash the ball out for a throw-in on the far side.
It was a similar story after the break initially as Albion continued to waste chances.
Robinson’s angled shot flew across goal and wide after Molumby freed him to cut in from the left.
Taylor Gardner-Hickman cut inside only to blaze hopelessly high and wide then Grant glanced over from Robinson’s cross.
The deadlock was finally broken by Albion in the 61st minute.
Robinson met Grant’s cross with a deft flick that went in off the underside of the bar.
Albion continued to press for more goals. A sliced clearance from Moore was inches away from being an own goal before Robinson headed just wide and Mowatt fired straight at Southwood.
The Reading goalkeeper then denied Robinson with a full-stretch save from a curling shot.
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