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West Brom get new era off to flying start as they pull clear in playoff race

West Brom moved seven points clear of the Championship playoff chasing pack thanks to a 2-1 win over their top-six rivals Coventry. Their Celtic loanee Mikey Johnston scored a wonder goal to hand Albion an early lead before Grady Diangana doubled their advantage. The substitute Haji Wright replied from the penalty spot for Coventry.

In the first West Brom game since Shilen Patel completed his £60m takeover of the club from the Chinese businessman Guochuan Lai, the Baggies led after seven minutes with Johnston showing again exactly why the head coach, Carlos Corberán, brought him to the club. He picked up the ball out wide before dancing past a number of Coventry defenders and curling home beyond Ben Wilson.

Albion enjoyed much of the early pressure but, after a couple of warning strikes from distance, Josh Eccles almost finished off a neat short-corner routine from the visitors. The ball was worked out to the edge of the area, but his curling effort was mistimed and it dropped just wide of the post.

Kasey Palmer went close from distance before the home side extended their advantage 10 minutes before half-time. Tom Fellows got himself half a yard on Jay Dasilva and was able to cut a cross back to Diangana, who volleyed in off the inside of the post.

Albion were clinical in the first period, with their only two opportunities conjuring a two-goal advantage. Coventry made a half-time substitution, with Wright replacing Callum O’Hare, but it did not change the complexion of the game in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

Diangana headed a Johnston free-kick wide before Conor Townsend’s effort from distance deflected over.

At the other end, a snapshot from Victor Torp drew a smart save from Alex Palmer as the visitors began to get a foothold in the game. The Coventry midfielder Palmer tested the West Brom goalkeeper and Torp went closer from distance before the Sky Blues halved the deficit with 18 minutes left.

Palmer was upended by Cédric Kipré in the box and the substitute Wright sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot.

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Ellis Simms then spurned a chance to level shortly afterwards, with Albion starting to shake in the wake of the spot-kick. Simms fired over again as the clock ticked down as Coventry sensed a late equaliser. Eccles saw an effort deflect wide but West Brom stood firm.

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