Aston Villa beat West Brom on penalties to reach Championship play-off final – as it happened

Tammy Abraham scored the crucial spot-kick for Aston Villa in a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over West Midlands rivals West Brom

Villa reach play-off final to earn shot at Wembley redemption

Thanks for your company. That was entertaining, wasn’t it?

Now, read Stuart James’s match report:

A quick note on Mile Jedinak, courtesy of Matthew Stephens on email. “He has never missed a penalty for club or country,” he says. “That’s 17/17 for him now. Ice in his veins that man.” And some reaction from Tyrone Mings. “We always seem to find a way to win at the moment,” he says. “It was difficult against 10 men but we have a set of lads that never know when they have been beaten.”

Dean Smith talks. “The day we knew we were in the play-offs, we started working on penalties,” he says. “So, we’ve been doing it for four weeks. We had a plan of who would take them. We work very hard with Jed Steer on which way the opposition would go, so that was the plan.” Jack Grealish insists Aston Villa have only done half the job. “We done it last season, [but] it’s no good going on the run that we have been on and falling at the final hurdle [again]. We’ll have a few days off and then prepare for Wembley.”

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith celebrates with Jack Grealish.
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith celebrates with Jack Grealish. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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Jed Steer, who saved two penalties in the shootout, speaks. “I think I have must have faced about 100 of them a day for the last few days, so it’s brilliant to make a couple of saves,” he says. “Bring on Wembley!” As for Tammy Abraham, who scored the winning spot-kick, he shrugged off talk of any pressure. “For me, I’m used to it. I’m professional. I’m used to it. This means the world.”

Aston Villa’s keeper Jed Steer (second left) celebrates victory with Jack Grealish (left) and Mile Jedinak.
Aston Villa’s keeper Jed Steer (second left) celebrates victory with Jack Grealish (left) and Mile Jedinak. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
Aston Villa’s Tammy Abraham celebrates after the match.
Aston Villa’s Tammy Abraham celebrates after the match. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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Aston Villa beat West Brom 4-3 on penalties!

Villa are heading back to Wembley! It was not the cleanest penalty in the world but Abraham ripples the net and that’s it.

Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa takes and scores the winning penalty.
Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa takes his penalty... Photograph: Adam Fradgley - AMA/Getty Images
Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa scores the winning penalty off the legs of Baggies keeper Sam Johnstone.
And it goes into the net off the legs of Baggies keeper Sam Johnstone. Photograph: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images
Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa celebrates scoring the winning penalty.
Abraham celebrates scoring the winning penalty. Photograph: James Baylis/AMA/Getty Images
Aston Villa players rush to celebrate with final penalty scorer Tammy Abraham and keeper Jed Steer.
Aston Villa players rush to celebrate with Abraham and keeper Jed Steer. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters
Dejected players of West Bromwich Albion react after losing on penalties.
Whilst the West Brom players are crestfallen. Photograph: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

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Now, Tammy Abraham can win it for Villa ...

Aston Villa’s Tammy Abraham walks to take his penalty in the shootout.
Aston Villa’s Tammy Abraham walks to take his penalty in the shootout. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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Penalties 3-3: James Morrison scores!

Penalties 2-3: But Adomah blazes over!

Albert Adomah can send Villa to Wembley ...

Penalties 2-3: And does so. A cool penalty.

Kieran Gibbs has to score for West Brom ...

Penalties 1-3: Jack Grealish sends Johnstone the wrong way.

Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish celebrates after slamming his spot kick home.
Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish celebrates after slamming his spot kick home. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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Penalties 1-2: Tosin Adarabioyo scores. Hope for West Brom.

West Bromwich Albion’s Tosin Adarabioyo scores his penalty.
West Bromwich Albion’s Tosin Adarabioyo scores his penalty. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

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Penalties 0-2: Mile Jedinak, who was brought on solely for this purpose, sweeps his spot-kick into the corner.

Penalties 0-1: Jed Steer saves – again! The Villa goalkeeper gets a strong right hand to Ahmed Hegazi’s spot-kick.

Aston Villa’s Jed Steer saves a penalty from West Bromwich Albion’s Ahmed Hegazi.
Aston Villa’s Jed Steer saves a penalty from West Bromwich Albion’s Ahmed Hegazi. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters
West Bromwich Albion players during the penalty shootout.
It’s not going well for the Baggies. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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Penalties 0-1: Conor Hourihane sends Sam Johnstone the wrong way! Advantage Aston Villa!

Penalties 0-0: Jed Steer saves from Mason Holgate! The Villa goalkeeper guesses correctly, diving to his left.

Aston Villa’s Jed Steer celebrates after saving from West Bromwich Albion’s Mason Holgate.
Aston Villa’s Jed Steer celebrates after saving from West Bromwich Albion’s Mason Holgate. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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West Brom will go first ...

Who do we fancy? West Brom do not have their penalty-taker – Jay Rodriguez – on the pitch. Villa have theirs, Tammy Abraham. Both managers look a little flustered as the captains do the coin toss.

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Full-time in extra-time: West Brom 1-0 Aston Villa (2-2 agg)

Penalties will decide who reaches Wembley!

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122 min: Mile Jedinak replaces Tuanzebe.

120 min: There will be two more added minutes. Villa have a corner. Grealish will swing it in ...

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118 min: The ball breaks kindly for Davis, whose effort at goal is deflected wide by Craig Dawson. Kodjia tries to react but cannot latch on to it. Amid all of that, Tyrone Mings was hurt but hauls himself off the floor to fight on.

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117 min: Huge chance! McGinn does superbly out on the right to beat two West Brom defenders, nutmegging James Morrison before standing up a lovely cross to the back post. There, Keinan Davis and Tammy Abraham are both queuing up to power a header at goal – but get in each other’s way. Frustration reigns for Smith.

Keinan Davis and Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa get in each other’s way and the chance is gone.
Keinan Davis and Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa get in each other’s way and the chance to power a header into the net is gone. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Aston Villa’s Tammy Abraham reacts after missing a chance to score.
Aston Villa’s Tammy Abraham reacts after missing a chance to score. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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116 min: Grealish claims handball against Craig Dawson – but the referee Chris Kavanagh could not make his opinion any clearer, forming a big cross with his hands.

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114 min: Hegazi thumps away another hopeful ball into the West Brom box. Villa keep pushing but seem to have run out of ideas. Can West Brom hold on for a penalty shootout?

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113 min: Keinan Davis is on for Elmohamady. An undoubtedly positive move by Smith, bringing on a striker for a full-back.

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112 min: McGinn floats a ball towards the back post, where Adomah is lurking. The winger gets caught in two minds and ends up nodding straight at Johnstone, who gratefully clutches the ball.

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111 min: Elmohamady pops up on the right and plays a beautiful ball across the face of the West Brom goal. Villa try to keep it alive at the back post but West Brom – just about – survive.

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109 min: And now Abraham has a go at goal. He snubs Elmohamady who was in space to his right, instead driving at goal from just outside the box. But it was poor, always rising.

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108 min: Grealish shoots from 30 yards – but Johnstone holds on to it! Moments earlier, West Brom had an opportunity to build: Jon Leko swivelled away from Tuanzebe and then dropped to the floor. Chris Kavanagh, the referee, was deeply unimpressed.

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107 min: Jimmy Shan is deep in conversation with his backroom staff. West Brom will do well to take this to penalties. They have been playing with 10 men since the 80th minute.

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106 min: West Brom get the final quarter started.

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Half-time in extra time: West Brom 1-0 Aston Villa (2-2 agg)

Villa are huffing and puffing – but cannot blow the West Brom house down. Abraham and Grealish have both been sniffing for a winner. Grealish, in particular, attempted to up the ante just before the end of the first period of extra time. When he did run at West Brom, the defenders looked frightened to touch him.

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115 min: Vital interception by Hegazi! The West Brom defender sticks with Grealish and nicks the ball away, just as the Villa captain looks to pull the trigger inside the box. It was a well-worked move by Villa, with Kodjia nudging the ball into the path of Grealish who was determined to have a go.

112 min: Grealish plays a neat give-and-go with Tyrone Mings, who pours forward from centre-back. But the defender loses his footing as he shoots at goal after picking the ball up inside the box in a promising area. Mings’s slip is met with great delight by the Baggies supporters.

100 min: John McGinn bends a delicious left-footed ball into the box in search of Abraham – but the Chelsea loanee cannot reach it. Abraham never truly flung himself at the cross but did appear to be offside, and perhaps he knew as much. That felt like the chance.

99 min: Jonathan Kodjia replaces Anwar El Ghazi. A first roll of the dice by Dean Smith.

98 min: The ball bounces up on to the arm of Jack Grealish and the West Brom fans bask in his misfortune. The hosts earn a bit of respite, with Johnstone whacking the ball upfield towards Leko, who is flagged offside. The youngster is yet to get going.

95 min: Hourihane does have a crack this time, firing low from the edge of the area but his effort cannons off Abraham and into the hands of Sam Johnstone. Villa continue to apply the heat.

94 min: Grealish drifts out wide to the left flank, drops a shoulder and dinks a cross into the box in search of Abraham. Villa win a corner but West Brom head it clear. Villa recycle it, with Hourihane tempted to wind-up a shot on goal but Harper boots it away.

West Bromwich Albion’s Mason Holgate attempts to block a cross by Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish.
West Bromwich Albion’s Mason Holgate attempts to block a cross by Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

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92 min: Jon Leko replaces Jay Rodriguez, who appeared to be struggling. It is Leko’s seventh appearance of the season. There is no better time to make himself a Hawthorns hero ...

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91 min: We are back under way.

End of 90 minutes: West Brom 1-0 Aston Villa (2-2 agg)

We go to extra time at the Hawthorns! And West Brom will have to slog it out with 10 men after Chris Brunt’s dismissal.

Baggies players and staff have a team talk from manager Jimmy Shan.
Baggies players and staff have a team talk from manager Jimmy Shan. Photograph: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

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90+2 min: Grealish slips after attempting to skate away from Holgate and the Villa skipper ends up gifting West Brom a free-kick. They get a few of the big boys up for the pending free-kick, but Holgate’s delivery is wayward. Shocking, even.

90+1 min: El Ghazi whips a ball into the box in search of McGinn, who glances a header goal but Hegazi does enough.

90 min: There will be five added minutes.

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88 min: Johnstone parries a McGinn piledriver into the path of El Ghazi, but the Villa winger is flagged marginally offside.

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87 min: Stunning save by Sam Johnstone! A huge stop to deny the substitute Albert Adomah. After a bout of head tennis, the ball runs kindly off the shin of Abraham in the box and across to Adomah, who smacks it goalwards. But the West Brom goalkeeper instinctively pushes it away down to his right.

Aston Villa’s Albert Adomah shoots at goal but is thwarted by Sam Johnstone between the Baggies’ sticks.
Aston Villa’s Albert Adomah shoots at goal but is thwarted by Sam Johnstone between the Baggies’ sticks. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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85 min: Villa squander two corners in quick succession but this has turned into attack v defence, as West Brom soak up further pressure. Down in the Villa technical area, Dean Smith, John Terry and Richard O’Kelly are dreaming up a masterplan.

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83 min: Hourihane clips a ball into the box and Kyle Bartley heads away for a Villa corner. Suddenly, Villa’s tails are up.

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82 min: Ten-man West Brom switch to a kind of 5-3-1.

81 min: Jimmy Shan responds by withdrawing Jacob Murphy and summoning Tosin Adarabioyo, the Manchester City loanee.

79 min: Chris Brunt is sent off! The West Brom midfielder dives in on McGinn on the edge of the box and the referee has no choice but to hand him a second yellow card. A reckless challenge. Brunt knows it was stupid, too, pulling at his hair as he heads down the tunnel. Yet another red card for West Brom!

Chris Brunt of West Bromwich Albion (centre) reacts as he is shown a red card by referee Chris Kavanagh and is sent off.
Chris Brunt of West Bromwich Albion (centre) reacts as he is shown a red card by referee Chris Kavanagh and is sent off. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images
A dejected Chris Brunt of West Bromwich Albion walks off the pitch after receiving a red card.
Doh! Photograph: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

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77 min: Grealish opts to play an ineffective low ball towards the front post. West Brom gobble those up for breakfast.

76 min: Harper is straight into battle, duelling with Elmohamady down the left flank. But the Villa defender comes off victorious and they sweep forward up the other end to win a corner. Grealish will deliver. Up come Mings and Tuanzebe from the back.

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75 min: A change apiece; Rekeem Harper, the West Brom young player of the year, replaces Matt Phillips, while Aston Villa introduce Albert Adomah in place of Andre Green.

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74 min: The free-kick is launched towards the back post, where Bartley is lurking, but the West Brom defender is adjudged to have fouled Tammy Abraham.

73 min: Taylor is dismayed that the referee pulls him up for a challenge on Mason Holgate. The Villa defender is booked. It was a robust tackle but Taylor appeared to win the ball pretty cleanly. Anyway, Brunt will swing the free-kick into the box ...

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70 min: James Morrison replaces Stefan Johansen, who limps off. He looks really frustrated but was on a booking and would have probably been Jimmy Shan’s first change regardless of that knock.

68 min: Johnstone is alert to keep out El Ghazi! Villa work the ball round the edge of the box and, when it lands at the winger’s feet, he only has one thing in his mind. El Ghazi powers low and hard and Johnstone saves smartly down low to his right.

66 min: Brunt flies in on John McGinn and gets a booking for his efforts. It was a horrible challenge, swiping through the legs of the Villa midfielder. Brunt, who clashed with McGinn at the end of the first half, can count himself fortunate that that was just a yellow.

West Bromwich Albion’s Chris Brunt is booked after this challenge on Aston Villa’s John McGinn.
West Bromwich Albion’s Chris Brunt is booked after this challenge on Aston Villa’s John McGinn. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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64 min: Chris Brunt drops a shot just wide of goal! Mings’s telegraphed ball out to the left is calmly intercepted by Holgate, who then plays it infield to Brunt, who has a crack. Villa are playing themselves into trouble. West Brom are lapping it up.

63 min: McGinn storms across to Chris Kavanagh to ask about Ahmed Hegazi’s ‘defending’. The West Brom defender is more than touch-tight, tugging at the shirt of the Villa midfielder, who carries the ball along the tightrope on the edge of the 18-yard box. Dean Smith is equally livid. That was probably a foul.

61 min: Matt Phillips goes close! Bartley meets the corner at the back post to win another one in quick succession. This time West Brom opt to flood the box, with Rodriguez and Dawson both lurking on the goal-line. West Brom attempt to crowd out Steer and when the ball comes back in, Hegazi’s header is diverted just wide of goal by Phillips. Villa are treading water.

Matt Phillips can’t divert his header on target.
Matt Phillips can’t divert his header on target. Photograph: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

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59 min: Hegazi strides out of defence to make a crucial challenge on McGinn and get West Brom back on the front foot. Johansen spreads play and Kieran Gibbs bombs forward, after good work by Brunt. West Brom win a corner ...

57 min: Johansen finally goes into the book. Craig Dawson followed Grealish infield to keep the Villa captain at bay on halfway and then the Fulham loanee blocks his path as he attempted to skip through. The free-kick comes to little, other than McGinn lashing wide.

56 min: And now Rodriguez is allowed to have a go at goal from 25 yards out. Steer makes a mess of it but eventually gathers.

54 min: Villa are dicing with death at the back. They got lucky when Murphy’s effort was hacked away and then Murphy intercepted Hourihane’s cushioned header in front of his own box.

53 min: Jed Steer breathes a sigh of relief. The Villa goalkeeper tries to slip the ball out from the back in search of Elmohamady but badly undercooks his pass and Jacob Murphy nabs the ball before letting fly. He curls an effort at the far corner of Steer’s goal – and there is Tyrone Mings to clear the ball away, just in front of the line.

52 min: McGinn walks into trouble and gets caught approaching halfway. Chris Brunt seizes possession and drives at goal. But, just as the West Brom midfielder is making ground, he sees his name up in the lights and blasts a wild effort high and wide.

50 min: Bartley brushes aside Abraham to nick the ball away in defence. As a result of a fairly tame challenge, the Villa forward goes to ground. Abraham nurses the left shoulder he has previously injured but is soon back up and moving.

49 min: Andre Green jinked away from Hegazi, dancing towards the box but the Villa winger loses his footing at the crucial moment. West Brom seek to put a foot on it, with Johansen spreading the ball wide to Matt Phillips, who is yet to find top gear.

48 min: El Ghazi’s free-kick is rubbish, failing to beat the first man but Grealish does well to recycle possession. El Ghazi’s delivery second time around is much better, finding Tammy Abraham at the front post. But Kyle Bartley makes life difficult for the striker and Abraham can only shoot off-target.

47 min: Villa play it short and then Johansen clatters Hourihane , just as he careered into Grealish in the first half. Villa earn a free-kick out on the left flank, 20-odd yards from goal.

47 min: Grealish feeds El Ghazi down the left. He takes a touch and then tries to a whip a cross in. Villa win a corner ...

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46 min: Jacob Murphy kick-starts the second half.

Semi-essential half-time reading:

Half-time: West Brom 1-0 Aston Villa (2-2 agg)

Craig Dawson’s header gives West Brom the lead at the interval. As the teams head down the tunnel, Brunt is trying to kiss and make up with McGinn, but the midfielder is unimpressed. Things were looking good for Villa until they switched off at that Holgate long throw, which Dawson guided into the corner of Jed Steer’s goal. West Brom initially looked shaky at the back but that goal gave them a real belief. Villa never really got back on track. A reminder that, if things stay as they are, we will have extra time.

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45+1 min: Chris Brunt is a lucky boy. He wrestles with John McGinn but, as they go to ground in the challenge, Brunt appears to stand on McGinn’s right arm. It certainly did not look good. The Scottish midfielder is incensed but Brunt gets away with just a ticking off.

West Bromwich Albion’s Chris Brunt steps on the arm of Aston Villa’s John McGinn.
That’s gotta hurt. Photograph: Carl Recine/Action Images via Reuters

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45 min: There will be one added minute.

44 min: Villa patiently build on the edge of the box and things look rather rosy but Neil Taylor’s low cut-back ends up dribbling across the area and back in West Brom hands. It was the right idea but there was no one in a Villa shirt there to meet Taylor’s cross.

41 min: Villa are happy to pop it about at the back, with Hourihane dictating things, gladly picking the ball up off Tuanzebe, Mings and co. They end up probing down the left and El Ghazi has a crack but his left-footed effort is tame, a daisy-cutter at best.

40 min: A smart Villa move ends up with Andre Green lashing a cross miles over. Dean Smith does not look amused.

38 min: Hourihane hits it low – but Hegazi is in the way. Grealish appeared to fancy it but was seemingly trumped by his team-mate. It took a while to be taken because of a stoppage for Anwar El Ghazi to receive some treatment; he is back up and running now.

35 min: Right on cue, after being slipped in by McGinn, Grealish is felled by Holgate outside of the area. A clumsy challenge by the West Brom defender, who halted the Villa midfielder just outside of the box. A hearts-in-mouth moment for the home faithful. It is only a free-kick, though. Off-centre, 20-odd yards from goal.

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34 min: Jack Grealish is blocked off on halfway by Johansen, who has little appetite – if any – to play the ball. Johansen gets a stern telling off from the referee Chris Kavanagh. Talking of Grealish, he has been very quiet.

33 min: Hegazi bumps Jed Steer out of the way as West Brom chuck another long ball forward. That’s a foul and a chance for Villa to regroup. That goal has taken the wind out of Villa’s sails.

31 min: West Brom turned up the volume on Villa and got their reward for it. It was not the most beautiful goal – a route one move straight out of the Tony Pulis textbook – but West Brom won’t care. Dean Smith is aggrieved down on the touchline, having a pop at the fourth official for an alleged foul on Mings in the buildup to it.

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GOAL! West Brom 1-0 Aston Villa (Dawson, 29)

It all stems from a Mason Holgate long throw and Craig Dawson rises highest in the box – above three Villa defenders – to steer the ball into the corner of the goal. West Brom recycled the ball time and again to maintain pressure and got their reward. Game on!

West Bromwich Albion’s Craig Dawson scores his side’s first goal of the game.
West Bromwich Albion’s Craig Dawson scores his side’s first goal of the game. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA
Baggie Bird joins in the celebrations of Craig Dawson’s goal.
Baggie Bird joins in the celebrations of Craig Dawson’s goal. Photograph: Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

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27 min: For the first time, West Brom’s front three cause havoc. After Rodriguez scoops hold of the ball, they break and Mings inadvertently nudges the ball into the path of Phillips. Villa survive but then Mings concedes a corner, which Villa have to bat away.

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25 min: Bartley does well to collect a high ball forward and divert it across the 18-yard box – but the linesman’s flag is up.