West Brom 1-0 Blackpool: Okay Yokuslu scored five minutes from time to give Carlos Corberan’s hosts all three points points following battle at The Hawthorns
- Okay Yokuslu scored five minutes from time to settle a battle at The Hawthorns
- Carlos Corberan’s struggling hosts were buoyed by the late winner at home
- Meanwhile, mid-table Blackpool left empty-handed from their midweek trip
- West Brom fans are furious with the club’s Chinese-based owner Guochan Lai
West Bromwich Albion owner Guochuan Lai was pilloried by furious supporters despite the club’s first home win since August.
Though Okay Yokuslu’s goal five minutes from time gave new boss Carlos Corberan his opening victory as Albion boss and took the club off the bottom of the Championship, it will take more than a single victory to solve the deep-rooted issues at this club.
‘‘I respect every type of behaviour from the fans but I’m here to change their feeling,’ said Corberan. ‘I want to make fans proud of the team. Throughout the game they were supporting the team a lot and that isn’t easy for them when things aren’t going well. Our challenge is to make the fans happy.’
Okay Yokuslu scored West Brom’s home winner five minutes from time to seal all three points
West Brom: Palmer 6.5; Furlong 6.5, Bartley 6, O’Shea 6.5, Townsend 6.5; Gardner-Hickman 6.5 (Rogic 76), Swift 7; Wallace 6.5 (Diangana 58, 6), Grant 5 (Molumby 76), Phillips 6 (Thomas-Asante 83).
Goal: Yokuslu 85
Booked: Bartley, Wallace, Yokuslu, O’Shea
Manager: Carlos Corberan 7.5
Blackpool: Maxwell 6.5; Connolly 6, Ekpiteta 6, Thorniley 7, Husband 6; Carey 5.5, Dougall 5.5, Wright 5 (Lavery 46, 6); Yates 5 (Poveda 87), Madine 5 (Corbeanu 65, 6.5), Hamilton 6
Booked: Thorniley, Yates
Manager: Michael Appleton 4.5
Referee: Gavin Ward 5.5
Lai, who is based in China, is hugely unpopular with fans, who demanded to know when a £5million loan he took from the club in March 2021 will be repaid.
When Lai took control of Albion in 2016, they were in the Premier League, but now find themselves staring at possible relegation to League One.
Albion supporters targeted Lai with X-rated chants while also shouting ‘Where’s the money gone?’ and ‘Stand up if you want Lai out.’
The pockets of empty seats visible across The Hawthorns were as effective a protest against Lai as any chant, though the 19,786 crowd stayed with their team throughout.
After sacking Steve Bruce last month, West Brom chief executive Ron Gourlay has hung his hat on Corberan, who led Huddersfield to the play-off final last season on a limited budget.
The Spaniard is a protégé of Marcelo Bielsa and has promised to bring the ferocious work ethic which made his mentor famous.
‘Sometimes we don’t understand what confidence means,’ added Corberan. ‘To me it means knowing you can do what you have to do. We cannot wait for one positive result just to get it back.
‘The wins help everyone believe in the things we propose. We want to become a very difficult team to beat at home.’
His first game ended in a home defeat by Sheffield United last Saturday after Albion blundered by giving away their tactics via training clips posted on social media.
Carlos Corberan, the West Brom manager, will have been relieved with the late winner
Though there were no such errors this time, Blackpool’s defence still had little trouble keeping Albion at bay.
The only chance of the first half fell to West Brom when Karlan Grant ran on to Yokuslu’s pass and cut inside Marvin Ekpiteta before shooting straight at Chris Maxwell.
Soon after the break, Matt Phillips blasted over from a similarly good positon and John Swift was also off target. Moments later, Swift was denied by Maxwell from eight yards.
West Brom finally got the goal their efforts deserved when Swift’s corner was helped on by Darnell Furlong and substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante for Yokuslu to stab in at the far post.
‘I can’t say we deserved to win but I thought it would have fizzled out into a 0-0,’ said Blackpool boss Michael Appleton. ‘We didn’t look like scoring tonight.’
West Brom’s Conor Townsend being tackled by Jerry Yates from the visiting Blackpool side