Callum Robinson’s opener was his second goal in successive games for West Brom
Championship leaders West Bromwich Albion produced a “complete” performance to beat Bristol City and move nine points clear of third-placed Fulham in the race for promotion, says head coach Slaven Bilic.
Callum Robinson gave the Baggies the lead in fortunate circumstances, the ball rebounding in off his head after Robins keeper Dan Bentley had saved the forward’s initial shot.
Bentley was then at fault for Albion’s second before the break when he failed to hold Jake Livermore’s shot, presenting Hal Robson-Kanu with a simple tap-in.
Albion had to play the final 13 minutes with 10 men after Romaine Sawyers was shown a straight red card after grabbing former Walsall team-mate Jamie Paterson by the throat, pushing a steward as he made his way off.
But Robson-Kanu sealed an 11th away win of the season for Bilic’s side, intercepting Ashley Williams’ back header and beating Bentley with a left-foot volley.
“It was very satisfying,” Bilic told BBC WM. “To win 3-0, be quite comfortable with that type of performance and limit them to one real chance, to do that at Bristol City requires a big-time performance. It was a complete performance.
“At 2-0 at half-time you are happy but there is a long time to go so we didn’t want to lose the momentum to give them something back. We started the second half top. Everything was almost perfect apart from the red card.
“There was still enough time for them to make us suffer but the great thing was that we scored straight away, which killed the game.”
Robins lose ground in play-off race
Play-off chasing City rarely threatened and went closest two minutes from time when Nahki Wells, who had earlier volleyed wide from six yards at 2-0, saw a shot tipped behind by Sam Johnstone.
Albion’s fourth victory in their past five games also handed them their first league double over City, having run out 4-1 winners when the sides met at The Hawthorns in November.
And although their lead at the top remains four points after Leeds beat Reading 1-0, the weekend’s draws for promotion rivals Fulham, Brentford and Nottingham Forest strengthens their position at the top of the table with 12 games remaining.
Defeat, meanwhile, means Bristol City, who have now lost three of their past four games, remain seventh in the table, three points behind Preston in the final play-off spot.
After an even opening, Albion gradually took control of the contest after Robson-Kanu played in Robinson for the opener.
Livermore also fired wide from the edge of the box and Robinson forced a smart save from Bentley, while Robson-Kanu could have ended the game with a hat-trick but shot wide after being put through by Livermore.
Bilic on Sawyers’ red card: “I sympathised with Romaine because he is not the sort of player to earn a ban for being too aggressive.
“I’m told he and Paterson have known each other for years. When he grabbed him it was just to say ‘what are you doing?’ because he had been fouled several times from behind.
“Sometimes referees need to look at the whole package when dealing with an incident. I would have said the same if one of their players had done what Romaine did.
“If that was a red card, we have going to have so many.”
Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson told BBC Radio Bristol:
“After a decent start we were in the game and the players looked like they were buzzing and bright. But in that 15-20 minute period before the first goal there were too many individual errors and bad decisions.
“We got caught on the first goal with an individual error, with the second goal two individual errors and the third one was a big howler.
“Had we got one back with 15-20 minutes to go plus injury time it would have been like the Alamo against their goal, but it [Albion’s third goal] drained the life out of the supporters, the team and gave them the shot in the arm to see it through.”
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 31BenkovicBooked at 29mins
- 11O'DowdaSubstituted forWeimannat 61'minutes
- 4NagySubstituted forPalmerat 73'minutes
- 19EliassonSubstituted forPatersonat 61'minutesBooked at 77mins
- 27O'SheaBooked at 15mins
- 19SawyersBooked at 77mins
- 7KrovinovicSubstituted forHarperat 79'minutes
- 12Costa PereiraSubstituted forPhillipsat 85'minutes
- 47RobinsonSubstituted forGrosickiat 73'minutes
Home TeamBristol CityAway TeamWest BromPossessionHome54%Away46%ShotsHome7Away17Shots on TargetHome1Away8CornersHome3Away7FoulsHome14Away13
Match ends, Bristol City 0, West Bromwich Albion 3.