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Reading 1-2 West Bromwich Albion: Baggies stretch Championship lead

Matheus Pereira scores for West Bromwich Albion
Matheus Pereira equalised for West Bromwich Albion after his initial effort had been saved

West Bromwich Albion extended their lead at the top of the Championship to six points as centre-back Kyle Bartley went from zero to hero in a comeback win at Reading.

Bartley clumsily gave away an early penalty for handball in the air when he appeared under little pressure to head a corner away.

Reading striker George Puscas converted from the spot but Matheus Pereira drew the visitors level midway through the first half.

Bartley atoned for his earlier mistake when he headed the Baggies in front early in the second half from a Filip Krovinovic cross.

That goal ensured a third straight win for Slaven Bilic's side, who now have a six-point advantage over both Leeds United and Fulham in second and third respectively. In addition, Albion have moved nine points ahead of seventh.

Reading battled bravely for a side without a win in seven league games and thought they had equalised towards the close when Yakou Meite headed home.

But the Ivory Coast striker was adjudged offside and on the balance of chances, West Brom should have made victory more comfortable on the night.

They twice struck the crossbar in either half through Krovinovic and Callum Robinson, while Reading goalkeeper Rafael was called upon on numerous occasions to make some smart saves to keep his side in it.

The Royals remain 16th as their 2020 continues to go without a Championship victory since New Year's Day, but Mark Bowen's side still have a nine-point cushion above the relegation zone with 14 games remaining.

Baggies pull clear as chasers falter

Championship top six
Seventh-placed Bristol City also have 53 points

A pivotal few days for West Bromwich Albion in the Championship promotion race?

Before the midweek round of fixtures, the top end of the Championship looked as congested as the M25 on the Friday before half-term.

Albion's successive away victories against Millwall and Reading in the past four days have given the Baggies a six-point lead over second-placed Leeds.

Their nearest challengers have either stuttered or taken points off each other, while Bilic's side have won three on the spin to put a previous seven-game winless streak behind them.

The Baggies will want to keep this momentum going as long as possible when they look at the compact situation behind them, as just three points separate second and seventh place.

What the managers said

Reading manager Mark Bowen:

"The team gave me everything I thought they could give. No complaints about the performance.

"The only disappointment is I thought the goals were avoidable from our point of view. We took the game to them after falling behind and they were the ones crying for the full-time whistle towards the end.

"I felt we deserved something out of the game. They're a very, very good side in this league with the way they move the ball.

"But we changed a few things around in the second half and I felt we gave them a great test with that performance. It's just about trying to get that consistency in our play."

West Bromwich Albion head coach Slaven Bilic:

"It was a good performance from us. This is a difficult league and you have to be strong technically and tactically and you have to manage your way through games.

"We went behind in an unfortunate way, but we didn't panic and we kept calm and composed and equalised soon after.

"We never lost belief in our quality. When we do that, we will always have the chance to win games.

"There's a long way to go, so the points gap is nothing to talk about right now. It's all about the games to go. Six points would only mean something to me if we had just two games left.

"Kyle (Bartley) can't quite explain what happened and what he was thinking, but it's great for him to score and play his part in that victory."

Line-ups

Reading

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 17YiadomBooked at 20mins
  • 4Morrison
  • 6Moore
  • 11ObitaBooked at 38mins
  • 19Meite
  • 20Araruna HoffmannSubstituted forRinomhotaat 55'minutes
  • 29Tuncará GomesSubstituted forAdamat 77'minutes
  • 10SwiftSubstituted forBaldockat 82'minutes
  • 14Ejaria
  • 47Puscas

Substitutes

  • 1Walker
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 9Baldock
  • 21Olise
  • 24Blackett
  • 26Adam
  • 27Richards

West Brom

  • 1Johnstone
  • 27O'Shea
  • 6Ajayi
  • 5BartleyBooked at 10mins
  • 14Townsend
  • 8Livermore
  • 19SawyersBooked at 31mins
  • 7KrovinovicSubstituted forPhillipsat 69'minutes
  • 12Costa Pereira
  • 4Robson-KanuSubstituted forAustinat 86'minutes
  • 47RobinsonSubstituted forGrosickiat 72'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Furlong
  • 10Phillips
  • 13Grosicki
  • 15Austin
  • 16Harper
  • 23Bond
  • 26Hegazi
Referee:
Matt Donohue
Attendance:
13,942

Match Stats

Home TeamReadingAway TeamWest Brom
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home11
Away27
Shots on Target
Home1
Away7
Corners
Home8
Away4
Fouls
Home13
Away15

Live Text

Match ends, Reading 1, West Bromwich Albion 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Reading 1, West Bromwich Albion 2.

Attempt missed. Charlie Adam (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Charlie Adam (Reading).

Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Andy Yiadom.

Attempt blocked. Kamil Grosicki (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jake Livermore.

Attempt missed. Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

Foul by Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion).

Andy Rinomhota (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion).

Andy Rinomhota (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. George Puscas (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Yakou Meite with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Charlie Austin replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.

Foul by Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion).

Jordan Obita (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Matheus Pereira (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Liam Moore (Reading).

Hand ball by George Puscas (Reading).

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Sam Baldock replaces John Swift.

Foul by Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion).

Andy Rinomhota (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion).

Charlie Adam (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Reading. Charlie Adam tries a through ball, but Yakou Meite is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Matt Phillips with a cross following a set piece situation.

Substitution

Substitution, Reading. Charlie Adam replaces Pelé.

Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Liam Moore (Reading).

Attempt missed. Yakou Meite (Reading) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Andy Rinomhota following a corner.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Dara O'Shea.

Foul by Semi Ajayi (West Bromwich Albion).

George Puscas (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Hal Robson-Kanu.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Kamil Grosicki replaces Callum Robinson.

Attempt missed. Liam Moore (Reading) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Jordan Obita with a cross following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Matt Phillips replaces Filip Krovinovic.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Kyle Bartley.

Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jake Livermore.

Offside, Reading. John Swift tries a through ball, but George Puscas is caught offside.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1West Brom321711457342362
2Leeds32168847301756
3Fulham32168847331456
4Brentford321661053262754
5Nottm Forest32159843311254
6Preston32158947361153
7Bristol City3215894845353
8Cardiff32121374643349
9Blackburn32138114638847
10Swansea32121193737047
11Millwall32111383938146
12Sheff Wed32128124135644
13Derby321110114044-443
14Birmingham32127134148-743
15Hull32117144347-440
16Reading32109133837139
17QPR32116154756-939
18Middlesbrough32813113442-837
19Charlton3299144145-436
20Huddersfield3298153751-1435
21Stoke32104183949-1034
22Wigan3279163148-1730
23Luton3283213866-2827
24Barnsley32510173758-2125
View full Championship table

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