Match Reports

Albion 1-0 Reading

An image of Daryl Dike and his teammates celebrating

Albion opened 2023 with a 1-0 win over Reading at The Hawthorns on Monday afternoon.

Daryl Dike’s 60th minute goal - his first in the Black Country - was the difference, earning Carlos Corberán’s men a fifth-straight Sky Bet Championship home victory.

The Baggies now turn their attention to the FA Cup Third Round, as a trip to National League club Chesterfield awaits them this weekend.

An image of Daryl Dike celebrating his goal against Reading

The boss made three changes from Albion’s win over Preston North End, bringing back Matt Phillips, John Swift and Dike.

And the Baggies made a rousing start in front of another packed-out Hawthorns crowd. Within the first five minutes Jayson Molumby forced Joe Lumley into an excellent stop from close-range, and Conor Townsend saw his effort via a diving header crash against the post.

Townsend tested Lumley again before Dike had a few goes, the first bravely blocked and the second a nod towards goal which was comfortably saved.

Former Reading man John Swift also struck over, and Dike hit wide, as the visitors just about managed to keep Albion at bay during a totally dominant opening half-hour.

Reading tested Alex Palmer a couple of times as the interval drew closer, however the Baggies’ goalkeeper got across well to deny Junior Hoilett’s low back-post finish before comfortably catching an Andy Carroll effort.

They had to wait until the hour-mark, but Albion did finally break the deadlock through Dike’s brilliantly guided header – the striker getting down to nod home a pinpoint Molumby ball.

In a second half of much fewer chances the hosts almost doubled their advantage nine minutes from time, Jed Wallace rounding Lumley and crossing for substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante to nod narrowly off-target.

Paul Ince’s away team piled on the pressure in the final stages – Baba Rahman guiding their best opportunity over the crossbar.

Albion kept their cool through five additional minutes, though, to once more claim a clean sheet and gather three important Championship points.

Albion: Palmer; Furlong, O’Shea, Pieters (Ajayi 88), Townsend; Molumby, Yokuslu; Wallace (Gardner-Hickman 88), Swift (Rogic 66), Phillips (Diangana 57); Dike (Thomas-Asante 66).

Substitutes: Button, Grant.

Attendance: 25,322