West Brom’s disappointing league campaign at least came closer to an end on a high note with a 1-0 win at Reading.
In a lackluster first half of a few chances, Albion went close when centre-back Semi Ajayi nodded against a post from close range.
Fare wasn’t much better after the interval, but West Brom claimed victory in the 78th minute when top marksman Karlan Grant surged after a short break.
Neither team had enough to play at SCL Stadium in their penultimate game of the season.
West Brom’s stuttering push for a possible play-off place came to an end when they only managed a 0-0 draw at home to Coventry last Saturday. They had only won two of their last seven games.
Reading finally secured their survival in second place despite a 3-0 defeat at Hull – thanks to relegation rivals Peterborough’s 1-0 home loss to Nottingham Forest.
A decent streak of just two losses in eight outings proved crucial.
Reading caretaker manager Paul Ince came up against Albion boss Steve Bruce, his former Manchester United team-mate, but neither was overly impressed with the early exchanges.
West Brom created the best opening, when Conor Townsend found space on the left flank through a pass from Grady Diangana.
But Townsend’s later cross had too much weight and the opportunity was overdue.
Albion did better when Adam Reach crossed from the same wing.
Centre-back Ajayi rose the highest in the crowded area but his header hit the left post of home goalkeeper Orjan Nyland.
Grant then tried his luck from 20 yards out only to see a poor effort dribble wide.
Little had been seen of Reading going forward until at the half-hour mark they were close to breaking the deadlock from a well-directed Junior Hoilett corner.
Local skipper Michael Morrison made a clean connection on it, but nodded shortly after the far post.
Albion made most of the run early in the second period.
Dara O’Shea played in a smart chipped pass to Grant in the danger zone at home, but the forward’s sloppy control cost him any chance of going for goal.
Matty Phillips nearly tricked Nyland with a curling, deep cross that looked like it would drop into the net before the keeper tipped it over the crossbar.
Reading again struggled to gain momentum, although West Brom keeper David Button needed two attempts to recover a diving corner from Hoilett.
Albion quickly returned to attack and finally broke through 12 minutes from time after a quick counter and an incisive pass from substitute Callum Robinson.
Grant did well to create space for himself before scoring his 16th goal of the season.