Match Reports

Albion 2-0 Preston North End

An image of Okay Yokuslu celebrating with his teammates after scoring against Preston

Albion rounded-off 2022 with an excellent 2-0 win over Preston North End on Thursday evening.

Goals either side of half-time from the impressive Okay Yokuslu were enough to hand Carlos Corberán’s side all three Sky Bet Championship points.

The victory, at a sold-out Hawthorns, ensures the Baggies enter the New Year on a high and with four consecutive home successes under their belt.

Next up, Albion host Reading on January 2 (ko 3pm) looking to continue their fine run of form.

The boss made three changes from Albion’s Boxing Day triumph at Bristol City, swapping Tom Rogic, Grady Diangana and Brandon Thomas-Asante in for John Swift, Matty Phillips (ill) and Daryl Dike.

In front of a packed crowd Preston created a couple of early opportunities but - in the main - the Baggies were fantastic during the first period.

Jed Wallace went close twice to breaking the deadlock midway through the half, initially sending a finish inches wide before then forcing the excellent Freddie Woodman into a good stop via a curling effort.

Thomas-Asante was the next to nearly net on the half-hour mark. Again, though, Woodman was there to rescue the visitors, denying the striker’s side-footed attempt.

Thankfully, Preston’s goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Albion’s opening goal nine minutes ahead of the break. Yokuslu did brilliantly to win possession in midfield and drive forward, opting to hammer a superb low shot home and hand Corberán’s side a deserved lead.

Preston had another decent spell at the beginning of the second half without really testing Alex Palmer. However, the introduction of John Swift swung the contest Albion’s way.

The attacking midfielder smashed the crossbar within 60 seconds of entering the pitch, before soon setting up Yokuslu to coolly poke past Woodman and double his team’s advantage.

The hosts could have added a third when substitute Daryl Dike curled off-target and Wallace smashed two shots over.

Yet they settled for the two-goal win alongside a well-earned clean sheet, despite Preston hitting the post late on.

Albion: Palmer; Furlong, O’Shea, Pieters, Townsend; Yokuslu, Molumby (Gardner-Hickman 78); Wallace (Karlan Grant 78), Rogic (Swift 55), Diangana (Reach 63); Thomas-Asante (Dike 63).

Substitutes: Button, Ajayi.

Attendance: 25,321.