- English Football League - Championship
- Wednesday, November 27th 2019
- The Hawthorns
|West Bromwich Albion||4|
James Crawley reports from The Hawthorns
Report: West Brom 4-1 Bristol City
Wednesday, November 27th 2019
It was a night to forget at The Hawthorns as City fell to a 4-1 defeat at the hands of West Brom, who returned to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.
It all started through an unlikely scorer in Kieron Gibbs, before Matheus Pereira struck a sublime free kick into the top corner to send Slaven Bilic’s side into a comfortable half-time lead.
City started the second half brighter, Ashley Williams seeing a goal ruled out for offside, before Famara Diédhiou halved the deficit with ten minutes to go.
It gave hope to the 1,300 travelling supporters of a late comeback, something City have been known for in recent times, but it was not to be as the Baggies pressed on.
Hal Robson-Kanu swept home West Brom’s third of the night two minutes later, while substitute Charlie Austin rounded off the scores, somewhat fortuitously, with five minutes to go.
City had not won at The Hawthorns in their last five league attempts, that being a 1-0 win in December 1993, so judging by the historical records, it was never going to be an easy contest.
Korey Smith returned for the latest clash though, to make his first appearance of the season having recovered from injury which had ruled him out since April. The midfielder was joined by Kasey Palmer as Head Coach Lee Johnson made two changes from Saturday, the pair replacing Tommy Rowe and Diédhiou who were named on the bench. Callum O’Dowda starred in the left wing-back role, a position he had worked on over the summer.
There was another notable milestone for Josh Brownhill but it was his error on his 150th club appearance, which led to the Baggies opener.
His header inside the 10th minute was a moment to forget when the aerial pass towards Bailey Wright was pounced on by Slaven Bilić’s side. Grady Diangana, who looked incredibly impressive on the night, raced through before back-heeling the ball for Gibbs and the former Arsenal left-back tucked the ball home, despite the best efforts of the recovering Nathan Baker.
It could have been two-nil shortly after with Diangana looking to go from creator to scorer but his shot rolled inches wide of Dan Bentley’s post, while at the other end Brownhill saw sight at Sam Johnstone’s net but couldn’t curl his effort on target.
Things got worse for City when Pereira’s sweetly struck free kick picked out the top corner. The set piece came after Palmer was robbed of possession, with West Brom captain Jake Livermore feeding Diangana who was tripped by Bailey Wright.
There really is no saving these kinds of strikes, with the shot from the edge of the area leaving Bentley rooted to the spot, as the ball narrowly avoided the crossbar and rippled the back of the net.
O’Dowda, who picked up a knock earlier, would be replaced by Rowe before the break and it was nearly three with minutes of the first half remaining. City captain Wright sliced a clearance allowing Robson-Kanu to pick out Diangana’s run but Bentley was down to smother his low shot.
It had been a half to forget but in fairness to the visitors, City did improve after the interval.
Niclas Eliasson and Diédhiou came in for Wright and Palmer at the break and City were soon threatening with new faces and a change of shape.
In fact they would have the ball in the back of West Brom’s net within four minutes of the restart, only for Williams’ goal to be disallowed for offside in the build up, before the Welshman went close to meeting an Eliasson corner moments later.
It was the encouraging start Johnson’s men needed if they were to find a way back into the contest but the hosts had weathered the storm before getting on top once again.
However, they were soon creating chance and the Robins had the recovering Pedro Pereira to thank when he cut out a Matt Phillips cross with Robson-Kanu ready to pounce.
Pereira, often looking for the overlap, then saw a cross take a double deflection which forced a quick reaction save from Johnstone, though the Baggies were quickly up the other end themselves, this time Bentley showed smart reactions to deny Robson-Kanu at the far post.
But City would get on the scoresheet thanks to Johnson’s half-time substitutes, with Eliasson’s corner ten minutes from time causing West Brom problems. With the ball static inside a crowded penalty area, Diédhiou eventually stabbed the ball beyond Johnstone to much delight from City supporters to the left of the goal.
However, their cheers were short-lived as the Baggies quickly restored their two-goal cushion. Phillips was quick to intercept a Bentley pass towards Ádám Nagy, racing up the pitch and picking out Robson-Kanu to sweep home the third.
The drama wouldn’t end there though with Austin snatching the fourth. Again he broke the offside trap, initially seeing an effort turned on to the post by Bentley but the striker was fortunate with the rebound and tucked the ball home with a simple finish.
Wednesday night’s result leaves City seventh in the Championship standings ahead of their return to Ashton Gate against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
Post-match thoughts from Lee Johnson
West Bromwich Albion
- Gibbs (10') , Matheus Pereira (39') , Robson-Kanu (82') , Austin (87')
- Kieran Gibbs, Matheus Pereira, Grady Diangana
- Diédhiou (80')
- Bailey Wright, Callum O'Dowda, Kasey Palmer