West Brom up to fifth after Diangana and Thomas-Asante see off Coventry

Grady Diangana and Brandon Thomas-Asante scored as West Brom beat Coventry 2-0 to move back into the Championship playoff zone.

The Sky Blues had lost just once at the CBS Arena since mid-January, but were handed a third consecutive defeat to remain 20th in the table. The Baggies’ second away win of the season lifted them to fifth as they registered their sixth clean sheet in seven outings.

Carlos Corberán’s men began the night without a recognised striker as Thomas-Asante was left out of the lineup, but when Ben Wilson spilled Nathaniel Chalobah’s effort straight at the feet of Diangana, the winger had the presence of mind to steady himself and roll into an empty net in the 17th minute.

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The visitors had started on the front foot as they camped in Coventry’s half and won a succession of corners, but were stopped in their tracks when the offside flag went up as Kyle Bartley’s header hit a post.

It was a miserable night for Coventry’s record signing Haji Wright, who squandered two huge opportunities to level with the score at 1-0. First, the American diverted Liam Kitching’s pinpoint cross wide of Alex Palmer’s goal from close range after he had seen an earlier effort blocked by Cédric Kipré. Palmer was also on hand to block Wright’s shot from a tight angle when he was played in by Jay Dasilva, while Jamie Allen failed to connect with his effort.

It was a frustrating first half for Mark Robins’ men, who racked up 11 efforts on goal, with Tatsuhiro Sakamoto’s shot beaten away by Palmer while Ben Sheaf fired over twice from range.

Shortly after half-time, Josh Eccles’ defence-splitting pass sent Wright through one-on-one with Palmer but he pulled his effort wide with the goal gaping. He and the Sky Blues were made to pay in the 69th minute when Matt Phillips set Thomas-Asante away down the left and the striker drove into the box before opening his body and finding the top corner with deadly precision. The substitute could have further extended the lead when he stole possession from Kyle McFadzean and weaved his way between a host of defenders before blasting over.

Coventry had only scored two goals in their previous four matches and Matt Godden and Ellis Simms were thrown on to try to get the Sky Blues back in the game, while Callum O’Hare had a penalty shout waved away on his first home appearance since December after a knee injury.

Twelve months ago the Baggies sat bottom of the league on 14 points from 17 games, but held onto their 2-0 victory to make it one defeat in their last nine. “The result of course was excellent,” said Corberán. “We know that Coventry is one team that didn’t lose at home so far, during the game we realised how difficult it was to win here tonight.

“The first goal was a collective action, Grady was showing how connected he is with the game because normally not every player will go for the second ball. The second was a very good action, very good pass of [Matt] Phillips, good running of Asante and the level of finish was excellent. I am very pleased to have the three points for the level of effort the players have put into the game tonight.”