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Match Reports

Exeter City 0 Albion 2

6 January 2018

ALBION secured safe passage into the FA Cup fourth round with a 2-0 victory over Exeter City at St James Park.

First-half goals from Salomon Rondon, inside 90 seconds, and Jay Rodriguez put the Baggies on their way to a first win under Head Coach Alan Pardew. 

Hal Robson-Kanu saw his penalty saved just before the break for a dominant Albion, who also saw two efforts ruled out on their way to winning the third-round cup tie and claiming a place in the hat for Monday evening's draw.

The triumph will provide a boost of confidence heading into next weekend's home encounter against Brighton & Hove Albion when Premier League action resumes.

A strong Baggies side got off to a dream start with just two minutes on the clock as Rondon slotted into the top corner from the edge of the area, Grecians goalkeeper Christy Pym only able to get a hand to his shot.

Pym saved well at his near post from Chris Brunt, Albion captain for the day in the absence of the injured Jonny Evans - one of just four changes from the late defeat at West Ham United.

Yet Pardew was forced into another in the early stages of the cup tie after Kieran Gibbs hobbled off to be replaced by Robson-Kanu.

And it was he who provided the right-wing cross for Albion's second after 25 minutes, City's defence failing to clear the danger and Rodriguez taking advantage to smash home from 10 yards.

The Baggies were in control against the League Two promotion hopefuls in what was the first meeting between the two sides for 25 years.

Rondon saw an effort ruled out for offside before Pym pulled off a superb point-blank save to deny James McClean what looked a certain third.

And the visitors had an even better chance just before the break when McClean was brought down in the penalty area, but Robson-Kanu saw his spot-kick saved low down to Pym's right.

Exeter spurned a great chance themselves to reduce the arrears on the stroke of half-time as Jayden Stockley could only fire against the near post with an open goal at his mercy.

Ahmed Hegazi saw a close-range effort ruled out for offside at the start of the second period.

Exeter had their moments at the other end as they looked to stage a fightback and find a route back into the encounter, Foster proving equal to the home side's half-chances.

Robson-Kanu broke through but fired wide with 68 minutes on the clock.

Albion probed in search of further reward but to no avail as the visitors' sold-out allocation of 363 supporters, in fine voice in Devon, travelled home up the M5 in jubilant mood.

ALBION: Foster, Nyom, McAuley, Hegazi, Gibbs (Robson-Kanu 12), Brunt, Krychowiak (Livermore 84), Barry, McClean, Rodriguez (Field 69), Rondon.

Subs: Myhill, Yacob, Leko, Burke.

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