Both sides came into this derby on the back of league wins against struggling clubs on Tuesday. West Bromwich Albion edged past rock-bottom Sheffield Wednesday by a goal to nil, while John Eustace’s hosts cruised past Huddersfield Town with a 4-1 victory.
BIR: Ruddy; Drameh, Sanderson, Long, Longelo; Sunjic, Bielik; Miyoshi, Dembele, Bacuna; Stansfield
WBA: Palmer; Pieters, Kipre, Bartley; Phillips, Mowatt, Yokuslu, Furlong; Swift, Diangana; Wallace
A misty evening in the West Midlands began with the home side starting on the front foot, as Koji Miyoshi raced down the left hand side and tried to find Fulham loanee Jay Stansfield, but Kyle Bartley was there to avert any potential danger for Albion.
However, Carlos Corberan’s side are known to be prolific in front of goal, and they proved that with almost five minutes gone. Grady Diangana kept the ball well on the edge of the box, and squared it across the edge of the box to John Swift, whose first time effort swerved past John Ruddy into the far corner – albeit off the post.Embed from Getty Images
The goal proved to be a slight spanner in the works for City, but John Eustace’s men almost found an immediate equaliser. Jay Stansfield’s mistimed header from a corner fell into the path of Miyoshi, who drilled the ball towards goal – only for the Japanese midfielder to find the side netting instead.
Birmingham couldn’t buy a pass, let alone a goal following the Baggies’ opener, but the referee then pointed to the spot for a penalty to the home side, which had various West Brom players venting their anger. Koji Miyoshi was the player challenged in the box by Cedric Kipre, and Juninho Bacuna struck the equaliser home from the spot; albeit in a somewhat controversial manner.
However, just moments later, West Brom could have retaken what would have been a deserved lead, only for John Swift’s free kick to fly over the bar. Alex Mowatt also went close with a headed effort shortly after, but John Ruddy came out and collected comfortably.
Juninho Bacuna could have had a second to his name with under 10 minutes to go, but the midfielder’s shot was deflected wide. But, from a corner, John Eustace’s men completed the turnaround. Bacuna’s corner found Cody Drameh just outside the box, and the right-back whipped the ball in towards City captain Dion Sanderson, who got up highest to head home past Alex Palmer in the Baggies goal.Embed from Getty Images
Carlos Corberan’s side would have felt hard done by with the awarding of that penalty, and for the rest of the first half, it didn’t get any better, as Matt Phillips’ long-range effort sailed well over the bar.
The beginning of the second half felt light on chances, with the only notable half-chance seeing Koji Miyoshi firing well wide of the far post for the home side.
With just under an hour gone, West Bromwich Albion’s Darnell Furlong produced a miss-of-the-season contender, as the right-back latched onto a wonderful cross from Matt Phillips and somehow steered the ball wide of the bottom corner from a few yards out. Furlong also had another opportunity to equalise for the away side, but his tame header landed straight In the arms of John Ruddy.
The second half had seen a rapid decline in the amount of chances being created since Darnell Furlong’s tame headed effort, and John Eustace looked to change that through the introduction of Scott Hogan for Jay Stansfield. It was a substitution that almost paid off immediately as Hogan tried to play the ball through to fellow Birmingham substitute Oliver Burke, but Conor Townsend – introduced at half-time for Erik Pieters – halted the attack quickly.
With just three and a half minutes to go, the home side sealed their second win in a row, and it was some way to do it. A free kick was won just outside the West Brom box, and Gary Gardner – who had just entered the field in place of Juninho Bacuna – curled the ball beautifully into the top corner past Palmer to secure all three points for John Eustace’s men.Embed from Getty Images
Both sides will return to Championship action after the international break, with Birmingham City travelling to Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion hosting Plymouth Argyle at the Hawthorns – both 3pm kick-offs on October 21st.