Yokuslu double steers West Brom to victory29 December 2022
Two goals from Okay Yokuslu continued West Brom's revival under Carlos Corberan as they beat Preston 2-0 at The Hawthorns.
The Turkish midfielder struck twice as the Baggies made it seven wins in eight games to move to within a point of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places, having been bottom of the table two months ago.
Yokuslu netted in the 36th and 58th minutes to deservedly reward a dominant West Brom, who also hit the bar and the outside of a post and forced three fine saves from Freddie Woodman.
There was a rousing atmosphere too as The Hawthorns hosted its first home sell-out for three-and-a-half years, since the Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Aston Villa in May 2019.
Preston threatened first with a wild attempt from Ryan Ledson and then a low angled drive from Alvaro Fernandez, which was easy for goalkeeper Alex Palmer.
West Brom responded with a low drive from Jayson Molumby which was comfortable for Woodman.
Albion winger Jed Wallace then went desperately close to the opening goal twice within a matter of seconds in the 18th minute.
First his side-footed shot brushed the outside of the far post via a deflection after he had nutmegged Patrick Bauer.
Then his angled curling shot was tipped away by Woodman diving to his left, following the resulting corner.
Albion continued to dominate but their threats were confined to several fruitless corners as Preston defended their box manfully.
Brandon Thomas-Asante's fierce half-volley was parried by Woodman after Grady Diangana's lob had left him with only the goalkeeper to beat from the corner of the six-yard box.
Wallace was having an excellent game and, after Yokuslu had put him through, he went close again with a curling shot that needed two saves from Woodman as Thomas-Asante looked to pounce on the rebound.
Thomas-Asante had the ball in the net but was offside before Albion scored the goal they had long been threatening.
Yokuslu cut out a heavy touch from Ledson and advanced before drilling a low shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner of the net.
Albion continued to carry more threat after the break.
Molumby's curling, dipping effort hit the bar before the Baggies doubled their lead in the 58th minute.
Again the scorer was Yokuslu, slotting clinically past Woodman from 10 yards.
A poor pass out from the keeper put Ben Whiteman under pressure and he was dispossessed by substitute John Swift, who unselfishly squared to his right.
Substitute Daryl Dike curled inches wide from an acute angle as Albion sought a third goal.
Preston hit a post through substitute Ali McCann after Brad Potts headed down Liam Lindsay's deep cross, but they were well beaten.
What the managers said...
West Brom's Carlos Corberan: "His [Yokuslu's] performance, not only today but in the previous games, has been excellent. He's played with one level of determination and personality that allows him to impact his personality on games. He is showing he has a very competitive character and likes to play the game with an unusually high level of intensity. This is the most important thing for him. We don't need to insist to him to be more self-demanding.
"I am pleased because the team deserved the win. For 80 minutes we were fantastic and we lost control of the game in the last 10. It (the dressing room) is positive, especially after one period of time when the team was suffering. This is one of the strengths we have. Don't forget when the team was suffering, there wasn't a player who didn't want to win. Every time you're on the pitch, you're going to be nervous, but the players have the right mentality now."
Preston's Ryan Lowe: "It was a tough evening. I thought they were very good, but I thought we were not quite at it in terms of with the ball or without. There are no excuses - we were beaten by the better team. In the second half we rallied, but you can't give a team like that in that sort of form two opportunities.
"But unfortunately it didn't turn out like that because we gifted them two goals. For their first goal, Ryan intercepted the ball, but his touch was too big and Okay shrugged Ryan off and it was a great strike. Ben held his hands up for the second goal. He got caught and Swift put it on a plate for his mate."
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This news item was provided by the SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/west-bromwich-albion-vs-preston-north-end/report/468122