West Brom coach Steve Clarke left out leading scorer Shane Long against his former club and saw his replacement Romelu Lukaku net the goal to earn a 1-0 victory over Reading at The Hawthorns.
But it needed the second-half introduction of Long to tee up the winner for on-loan Chelsea striker Lukaku.
James Morrison impressed in midfield and Lukaku posed problems throughout while West Brom keeper Ben Foster was untroubled throughout the game.
Albion started brightly and Reading defender Chris Gunter had to react quickly to cut out Lukaku's flick-on.
Lukaku skipped past the challenge of Kaspars Gorkss and drilled a dangerous low ball across the box but Danny Guthrie cleared.
Chris Brunt produced the first serious attempt on goal with Royals keeper Alex McCarthy turning his drive around the post.
Lukaku continued to pose problems and McCarthy finger-tipped away a floated cross. The nearest either side came to scoring in the first half came at the end when Albion defender Jonas Olsson's header hit the angle of bar and post.
Albion continued on the offensive after the break with Zoltan Gera having a shot charged down.
West Brom fans chanted Long's name before he was introduced after 65 minutes - and six minutes later he had played his part in the winner.
Substitute Graham Dorrans floated a ball into the box which was knocked by back by Long to Lukaku who steadied himself before driving a low shot past the dive of McCarthy and the winning goal.