In a controversial affair at Villa Park, the home side scored a penalty early before being reduced to ten men with a questionable call from the referee as the visiting Baggies backed up last week’s Black Country victory over Wolves to move temporarily into the top half of the table.
In the 21st minute, referee Phil Dowd awarded a penalty to Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor when he was brought down by Ben Foster with teammate Darren Bent slotting past the Baggies keeper from the spot to make it 1-0.
A second penalty came less than 15 minutes later in extremely controversial circumstances when young Villa midfielder Chris Herd was sent off for apparently kicking out at Jonas Olsson when they tangled at a free-kick although it appeared to be extremely soft.
The ensuing penalty was taken by West Brom skipper Chris Brunt and even though he hit it hard, it was nowhere near on target giving Shay Given and Villa a big let-off.
With a one-man advantage, Roy Hodgson’s men leveled when Olsson headed home Brunt’s corner from the six-yard box just before half-time.
15 minutes into the second half, the visitors hit the lead when Brunt’s outswinging corner evaded the first lot in the box but Paul Scharner managed to control with his chest on the bounce before throwing his left foot at the ball in acrobatic fashion and putting it in off the underside of the crossbar.
In injury-time of the first half, the Baggies had the ball in the back of the net for a second time when Peter Odemwingie finished brilliantly with his left foot from just inside the area but he had been called off-side with the replay showing he was marginally.
The Herd red card will certainly be a talking point but so will the non-red to Villa full-back Alan Hutton early in the game when he made a strong challenge on Baggies striker Shane Long which kept the Republic of Ireland international down for a few minutes. The Scottish international was issued a caution the next time the pair clashed and eventually Long had to be substituted because of the knock just on the 20-minute mark with Somen Tchoyi replacing him. Hutton was probably lucky to still be on the pitch as his first challenge certainly was a yellow card.
Hutton then needed to be replaced by Carlos Cuellar after he and teammate Charles N’Zogbia clashed heads.
The second half had nowhere near as much drama, apart from Scharner’s eventual winner, which gave West Brom a second win on the trot, taking their unbeaten run to four matches, whilst Villa lost for second time in two matches but remained eighth.
TRIBAL ASKS: Are the referees becoming too soft with their red card calls this season?