Played in front of fans for the first time since West Brom’s 5-1 thrashing of Wolves in 2012, the Black Country Derby was allocated a bizarre kickoff time of 11:45 in a bid to limit any fan violence. The victors would seek progression to the Fifth Round of the Emirates FA Cup.
WBA: Griffiths; Townsend, Kipré, Bartley, Furlong; Yokuslu; Swift, Mowatt, Chalobah, Wallace; Thomas-Asante
WOL: Sá; Toti, Dawson, Kilman; Doherty, Doyle, Lemina, Semedo; Cunha, Neto; Bellegarde
Despite a strong start from West Bromwich Albion, it was the visitors that seized the lead in this fiery clash just before the half-time interval through Pedro Neto. Launching a rapid counterattack after a Baggies corner, Matt Doherty surged along the right flank, with the defender picking out Pedro Neto. The forward cut inside, whipping an effort into the bottom corner past a despairing Josh Griffiths.Embed from Getty Images
Alex Mowatt came close to providing an equaliser shortly after play resumed, pinging a ball towards the back post that was nodded back across the face of goal by Jed Wallace. Brandon Thomas-Asante’s desperate attempt at a finish was kept out by Max Kilman though – with the home faithful unsuccessful in their calls for a penalty.
Wolves were able to double their lead in the 78th minute, with Matheus Cunha netting his seventh goal of the season after latching onto a Kilman ball over the top of the Baggies’ defence. The forward did well under pressure, slotting his strike under an onrushing Griffiths.
But with tensions running high in this Black Country Derby, unsavoury scenes ensued as the referee was forced to temporarily abandon the match. With both sets of players leaving the field of play, the FA were forced to release a statement.Embed from Getty Images
‘The disorder that occurred at the Black Country derby between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers is completely unacceptable,’ it read.
‘Safety and security are of the upmost importance, and the behaviour of those involved was dangerous and inexcusable. We will be investigation these serious incidents alongside the clubs and the relevant authorities, and the appropriate action will be taken.’
Play eventually resumed after a lengthy absence, with Wolves coming close to adding a third goal – with Cunha denied only by the strong hand of Griffiths, who did well to palm his thunderous strike around the post.