Ali and Alexis seal Albion’s cup progress

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Second-half goals set-up last-16 tie against Manchester United.

By Bruce Talbot • 23 September 2020

By Simon Davies
Players such as Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Pascal Gross and Alexis Mac Allister have started both of Albion's Carabao Cup matches so far.

Second-half goals from Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Alexis Mac Allister against Preston North End sealed a place in round four of the Carabao Cup for an impressive Albion.

Jahanbakhsh scored another cracker when he volleyed into the top corner in the 57th minute and Mac Allister finished off a slick move 15 minutes from time.

It was no more than Albion deserved for a strong second-half performance and they can look forward to playing Manchester United at the Amex next week with a place in the quarter-finals at stake.

What happened

Preston made it hard for Albion to settle early on. Jahanbakhsh needed treatment for a head wound after a full-blooded challenge by Andrew Hughes then Tom Bayliss was booked for bringing down Mac Allister.

By Simon Davies
Mac Allister in action against Preston.

Albion began to dominate possession but didn’t create a clear-cut chance until the 32nd minute when Mac Allister’s pass into the inside-right channel found Jahanbakhsh. He went for the near post but Connor Ripley made a good block.

The hosts responded with the best two chances of the first half six minutes later. Brad Potts released Jayden Stockley but Jason Steele was equal to his effort from inside the D, plunging to his left to turn the ball round for a corner which Patrick Bauer headed against the bar.

But Ripley saved his side again two minutes before the break. Mac Allister was released inside the box by Pascal Gross but Ripley came out quickly to block his shot.

By Simon Davies
Jahanbakhsh celebrates putting Albion in front at Preston.

Mac Allister wasn’t far away with a strike from 25 yards as Albion began to dominate at the start of the second half before Jahanbakhsh added another special goal to his burgeoning collection.

The move began when Steele claimed a free kick and launched a quick counter. No Preston player had touched the ball by the time Gross picked out Bernardo on the left. His cross found its way to Jahanbakhsh on the right-hand side of the box for a sumptuous volley which flew past the helpless Ripley. 

Albion still needed the insurance of a second goal and it came with 15 minutes to go. A slick passing move opened up space for Gross who looked up, picked out Mac Allister making a late run and the Argentina midfielder swept the ball home from close range.

By Simon Davies
Players such as Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Pascal Gross and Alexis Mac Allister have started both of Albion's Carabao Cup matches so far.

He doesn’t do tap-ins

Graham Potter joked after Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s brilliant strike against Portsmouth that he would like to see him score more simple goals, but all the time the Iranian is contributing – this was his fourth in just 14 games - he will have no complaints. Albion were finding it hard to break down their hosts when Jahanbakhsh drew back his right foot and pinged one into the top left-hand corner, just like he did last week.

Proud night for Pascal…

Pascal Gross was made captain on his 100th Albion appearance. He was one of nine starters against Portsmouth in the line-up, and Preston also changed nine players from the side that drew 2-2 with Norwich on Saturday. Haydon Roberts made a composed second senior start as the left-sided central defender with Dan Burn on the right.

… and Max

By Simon Davies
Max Sanders made his full debut against Preston earlier this season.

Max Sanders made his first-team debut in central midfield and acquitted himself well. The 21-year-old spent last season on loan at AFC Wimbledon and became more influential as the game wore on. The academy graduate has good awareness of his own position and his team-mates, passed the ball accurately but was also happy to make a tackle in an often-congested midfield when he needed to.

Deepdale delight

Albion finally won at Preston for the first time in 17 attempts. Next week’s appearance in the fourth round is only their second in 41 years.

The line-up:

Albion line-up: Steele, Veltman, Roberts, Burn, Bernardo, Gross, Propper, Sanders (Cochrane 88), Jahanbakhsh (Jenks 83), Mac Allister (Gwargis 81), Gyokeres.

Subs not used: Sanchez, Yapi, Dendoncker.

Next up

Albion entertain Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday, kick off 12.30pm.