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Reading 0-1 West Brom - Report

Albion gave their brilliant travelling fans something to cheer by winning their final away game of the season at Reading.

Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and West Bromwich Albion at Select Car Leasing Stadium on April 30, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and West Bromwich Albion at Select Car Leasing Stadium on April 30, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Despite being expected to compete for promotion, the Baggies have had a miserable campaign that has left them languish in mid-table.

And they have been particularly poor on the road with the team having won just two of their last 17 away games prior to the trip to Berkshire.

In 12 of those 17 games, Albion have failed to score.

But they claimed all three points at the Madejski Stadium thanks to a solitary goal from Karlan Grant.

Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion scores a goal to make it 0-1 during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and West Bromwich Albion at Select Car Leasing Stadium on April 30, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Overall, the match very much had a pre-season feel with neither side having anything to play for.

In the end, though, it was the Baggies who won it with Grant netting his 16th goal of the season in the second half.

REPORT

Manager Steve Bruce sprung a couple of surprises when naming his starting line-up with the boss deciding to move away from the 3-5-2 system used over the past few months.

Instead, the 61-year-old opted for a 4-4-2 formation that saw Grady Diangana partner Karlan Grant up front.

Reading's Terell Thomas dispossess Adam Reach (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

In midfield, Matt Phillips was on the right flank, with Adam Reach on the left and Jake Livermore and Jayson Molumby central.

In defence, Conor Townsend started at left-back despite the imminent arrival of his first child. Dara O’Shea was the opposite side with Kyle Bartley partnering Semi Ajayi in the middle.

Reading lined up in a 4-303 formation with Lucas Joao their central striker and Junior Hoilett and Ovie Ejaria out wide.

Despite playing in a completely new system, Albion dominated the opening 20 minutes with Molumby and Diangana particularly bright.

And they came a whisker away from opening the scoring when Reach whipped in a dangerous cross that Ajayi headed against the post.

Zac Ashworth of West Bromwich Albion and Danny Drinkwater of Reading during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and West Bromwich Albion at Select Car Leasing Stadium on April 30, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Gradually, Reading began to grow in stature. And they came close to taking the lead when, from a corner, Joao glanced a header inches wide.

From that point on the half proved to be something of a non-event with Albion only ever threatening from distance.

In the stands, though, the travelling fans continued to sing their hearts out with supporters going through a back catalogue of player songs which featured Gareth McAuley, Youssouf Mulumbu, Claudio Yacob, Chris Brunt, James Morrison, Gareth Barry, Hal Robson-Kanu and Andy Carroll.

Bruce made a change at the break with youngster Zac Ashworth making his league debut with Townsend, who had picked up a knock towards the end of the first-half, the man to make way.

The second-half, though, proved to be even more uneventful than the first.

Albion created a half-chance midway through it when O’Shea whipped in a cross that Phillips turned over the bar.

But in the 78th minute they did break the deadlock when substitute Callum Robinson found Grant in the box.

He then did well to trick his way past two defenders before slamming the ball home from close range.

READING, ENGLAND - APRIL 30: travelling West Bromwich Albion Fans enjoy the final away fixture of the season during the Sky Bet Championship match between Reading and West Bromwich Albion at Select Car Leasing Stadium on April 30, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Reading came a whisker away from pulling level in the 85th minute when Joao powerfully headed a corner just wide.

Albion then should have wrapped things up when Diangana hit the byline before picking out Robinson with a low cross.

Well placed around eight yards out, the forward really had to score. But his effort was too close to Orjan Nyland who made a simple stop.

TEAMS

Reading: Nyland, Thomas (Abrefaat 64), Rahman, Morrison, McIntyre, Drinkwater, Dele-Bashiru (Meiteat 83), Laurent, Hoilett, Ejaria (Barkerat 83), Joao.

Subs not used: Southwood, Tetek, Ehibhatiomhan, Scott.

Albion (4-4-1-1): Button, Townsend (Ashworth 46), Bartley, Ajayi, O'Shea, Reach (Robinson 72), Livermore, Molumby, Phillips (Castro 80), Diangana, Grant.

Subs not used: Palmer, Clarke, Gardner-Hickman.

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