Daryl Dike of West Bromwich Albion on July 4, 2022 in Lagos, Portugal.  (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

West Brom 2 Leyton Orient 1 – Report

Daryl Dike of West Bromwich Albion on July 4, 2022 in Lagos, Portugal.  (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Daryl Dike of West Bromwich Albion on July 4, 2022 in Lagos, Portugal. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Steve Bruce and his players have spent the last 10 days completing a grueling warm weather training camp in Portimao.

And they ended their time in the sun by facing League Two Orient in their first friendly ahead of the 2022/23 season.

The hard work they put in over the past week showed in the first half as they put on a dominant display against Richie Wellens’ men.

Dara O’Shea of ​​West Bromwich Albion on July 4, 2022 in Lagos, Portugal. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

But they had just a lone goal from Conor Townsend to show their efforts, with Semi Ajayi and Matt Phillips both missing excellent chances to extend their lead further.

Manager Steve Bruce opted for 11 changes on the break. And it was another left-back who added himself to the scorers’ list – youngster Zac Ashworth struck with a brilliant shot straight from the box.

Overall, the second half was much quieter than the first, although Albion fielded an offensive side that included new recruits John Swift and Jed Wallace.

And the Baggies gave Orient bizarre late consolation when Cedric Kipre inexplicably fitted the ball into his own net.

On the plane home, however, Bruce will look back on the game and feel there were plenty of positives – with the Baggies controlling procedure throughout and Orient barely worrying them defensively.

Playing in 24 degrees and not a hint of shade, Albion started the game in a traditional 4-4-2 formation.

The system saw David Button in goal with Ajayi partnering Dara O’Shea at heart of defense and Taylor Gardner-Hickman and Townsend at full-back.

In midfield, Phillips started on the right wing with Adam Reach on the left and Jayson Molumby and Alex Mowatt in the middle.

Up front, Daryl Dike was joined by Kenneth Zohore.

After a frantic start, Orient had a great chance to open the scoring in the opening minutes when they were awarded a penalty for what appeared to be a dubious handball.

But former Luton man George Moncur saw his penalty saved – with Button guessing correctly and getting on the ground well to shove the ball away.

Just moments later, Albion took the lead with a well-crafted team goal.

Reach and Townsend combined intelligently on the left before the ball was played across the field to Phillips on the right.

Conor Townsend of West Bromwich Albion on July 4, 2022 in Lagos, Portugal. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

And then he delivered a dangerous cross that Townsend balled home from close range.

Orient had a good chance to equalize soon after when Mowatt was robbed of possession in a dangerous position by Darren Pratley – the midfielder found himself in goal.

But the 37-year-old wanted too much time and finally saw a flat drive just wide of the post.

That moment aside, Mowatt looked radiant as Albion proved a class above their opponents, even if it was their first appearance in pre-season.

And they should have gone into the break with a bigger lead – Ajayi fired straight at Lawrence Vigouroux from a corner and Phillips was also denied by the keeper.

Overall, however, the half had proved good practice for the Baggies, with O’Shea organizing the side well and Townsend, Phillips, Reach and Dike all having good moments.

Bruce opted to completely change his eleven and system at the break, with the Albion returning from the break in a 4-3-3 formation.

Josh Griffiths started in goal with Darnell Furlong, Caleb Taylor, Cedric Kipre and Zac Ashworth in the back four.

Skipper Jake Livermore was the deepest of three central midfielders, with Callum Robinson and John Swift acting eighth on either side.

West Bromwich Albion’s Callum Robinson on July 4, 2022 in Lagos, Portugal. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Jed Wallace started at right, Grady Diangana at left, and Karlan Grant at centre-forward.

It took Albion’s newly formed squad just six minutes to extend their lead.

After Diangana lunged for a loose pass, the ball was passed to Swift, who found Ashworth with a clever back heel.

And from the penalty area, the youngster drilled the ball powerfully into the top corner.

Albion should have extended their lead with around 20 minutes to go when Grant went on target only to miss.

Overall, the second half was quieter than the first – with Swift perhaps the player who caught Albion’s eye the most.

And in the closing stages, Bruce’s men gave Orient a bizarre goal out of nowhere.

From a goal kick, Griffiths passed the ball to Kipre, who then attempted to return it to his keeper before the pressure came on.

Rather than find his team-mate, Kipre – who was just yards away – fitted the ball straight into his own net for a hilarious own goal.

Albion First Half XI (4-4-2): Button, TGH, Ajayi, O’Shea, Townsend, Phillips, Molumby, Mowatt, Reach, Dyke, Zohore.

Albion Second Half XI (4-3-3): Griffiths, Furlong, Taylor, Kipre, Ashworth, Livermore, Robinson, Swift, Wallace, Diangana, Grant.

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