Youssouf Mulumbu was the hero with a late goal as West Brom ended their 26-year wait for victory over Aston Villa with a 2-1 win.
With manager Gerard Houllier recuperating at home, Villa got off to a perfect start after a comical own goal from West Brom defender Abdoulaye Meite.
But they failed to build on that early momentum and were swept aside after the break as Peter Odemwingie and Mulumbu struck, even after Paul Scharner was sent off for picking up two yellow cards.
West Brom had not tasted victory over their neighbours since 1985 and were behind within four minutes as Stewart Downing’s centre was sliced past the helpless Scott Carson by Meite’s poor attempt at a clearance.
Under Roy Hodgson though, West Brom refuse to lie down and die as Mulumbu forced Brad Friedel in to a full-stretch dive to tip a long-distance drive around the post.
Both teams wasted ideal openings to add to the score line in the 23rd minute as Ashley Young and Carlos Vela both blazing over when clean through on goal.
Having played second fiddle despite Meite’s early error, Villa picked up the pace with Darren Bent flagged offside as he turned to fire in seven minutes before the interval.
With the hosts throwing as many players forward as possible, Vela and Odemwingie failed to win half-hearted penalty appeals straight after the re-start.
Parity was restored on the hour with Odemwingie ending a goal-mouth melee by hooking his 14th goal of the season in to the roof of the net after Scharner’s close-range shot had been blocked at close range.
But within two minutes, the home fans joy was dampened when Scharner was dismissed.
The industrious Austrian had walked a disciplinary tight rope since scything down Nigel Reo-Coker in the eighth minute of the match and another late challenge on Stiliyan Petrov resulted in his second caution of the game.
But unabated, Albion poured forward with Mulumbu on the end of a swift 84th minute move to clinch a well earned West Midlands derby win for West Brom.
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