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Plymouth Argyle 0 : 3 West Bromwich Albion

Cedric Kipre's goal was his second of the season for West Bromwich Albion

West Bromwich Albion tightened their grip on a Championship play-off spot with a comfortable 3-0 victory at Plymouth Argyle.

An uninspiring first half saw West Brom’s Andreas Weimann produce the only effort that required a save before John Swift shot wide for the Baggies soon after the restart.

Jed Wallace hit the post five minutes later as Albion upped the pressure before Cedric Kipre finally broke the deadlock from close range after a corner.

The points were sealed when substitute Mikey Johnston scored a fine individual goal with 15 minutes left before Tom Fellows got a close-range third in stoppage time as Albion won for the third time in five games.

The victory sees Carlos Corberan’s side consolidate fifth place in the Championship, giving them a four-point buffer over seventh-placed Coventry City as they target a play-off place.

Argyle’s loss was a third in four winless league games as they dropped to 17th place and their lack of attacking impetus will be of concern to new boss Ian Foster, with his side failing to muster a shot on target all night.

Albion’s Alex Mowatt had a second-minute shot from the edge of the box deflected just wide of the Argyle post by Ashley Phillips, while at the other end Adam Randell blasted a low effort from the edge of the box past the post in what proved to be the home side’s best chance of the game.

The Pilgrims felt they should have had a penalty when Darko Gyabi went down in the box under a challenge from Nathaniel Chalobah, but appeals were waved away.

It took almost half an hour for either goalkeeper to be forced into action, Conor Hazard standing up well to Weimann’s shot on the angle after the Austrian broke clear.

Weimann then had a volley blocked from 12 yards and it remained goalless at the interval.

Albion should have been ahead moments after the restart as Fellows’ precise through ball sent Swift clear, but he pulled his effort wide of the post.

Wallace then struck the same upright moments later with a well-controlled effort that bounced along the face of the goal and away to safety as the visitors started to gain the upper hand.

Albion almost went ahead after an hour when an unmarked Chalobah saw his header tipped over the bar by Hazard after an excellent cross by Conor Townsend, but from Swift’s resulting corner they finally made a deserved breakthrough when Kipre blasted in after the ball had pinballed around the six-yard box.

Johnston sealed it as he left substitute Matthew Sorinola trailing in his wake to cut in from the left before firing a powerful effort past Hazard from inside the box.

Grady Diangana blazed over from 10 yards after another good move down the same flank before Albion did get their third when Wallace was picked out in the middle of the box.

While Hazard got down well to palm away his low shot, Fellows was on hand to tap in.

Plymouth Argyle head coach Ian Foster told BBC Sport:

“We’re disappointed clearly because we lost a game.

“I can’t be critical of the players, I genuinely can’t, I know that sounds a little bit strange after a 3-0 home defeat.

“But the context of it is it’s our third game in six days, the opposition are top-quality opposition, they had an extra day’s rest than us, and I think in the second half it showed.

“We dug in, we kept them at bay, but once you concede the first goal the game opens up.

“But we didn’t have the energy, we didn’t have our normal athleticism, we didn’t have our normal connection of the game.”

West Bromwich Albion manager Carlos Corberan told:

“Sometimes it’s important to insist on the things that we are doing well and correct the things we didn’t do well enough.

“Occupying the spaces well on the pitch is key – we tried to understand better what we had to do to create more things in attack without conceding chances in defence.

“In the first half we were running a lot and today I wanted us to be focused to play in the spaces that give us continuity in the game, without losing the competitive aspect of the game.”