West Bromwich Albion 1-0 Birmingham City – Karlan Grant hits winner as Baggies go top

Karlan Grant's low right-foot shot finally broke the deadlock for West Brom against Birmingham City on 75 minutes
Karlan Grant’s low shot finally broke the deadlock for West Brom against Birmingham City on 75 minutes

Karlan Grant scored the only goal of the game as West Bromwich Albion ground out a West Midlands derby win over Birmingham City to move top of the Championship.

Grant’s powerful 75th-minute strike was enough for the Baggies to replace Bournemouth on goal difference.

Defeat leaves Lee Bowyer’s City with only one point – and no goals – from their past five games.

The first West Midlands derby to be played in front of a crowd since the Covid-19 pandemic generated a tremendous atmosphere inside The Hawthorns – but it quickly evaporated as the hosts struggled against a well-marshalled, rejigged Blues defence.

However, it took the game’s one moment of genuine individual brilliance from Grant – the Albion striker’s fifth goal in as many games – to settle it.

Chances were thin on the ground, especially in the first half when the only meaningful effort on target was full-back Conor Townsend’s left-foot piledriver which was tipped over the bar by Blues goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

Birmingham, who had chosen to leave captain Harlee Dean on the bench to tighten their defence, brightened after the break at the other end, going close three times.

Scott Hogan just failed to connect from second-half substitute Jeremie Bela’s right-wing cross.

Hogan then turned Semi Ajayi to get to the left byeline and pulled the ball back but Ivan Sunjic was leaning back and his shot clipped the bar.

Striker Hogan then ballooned over on the half-volley from Marc Roberts’ long throw-in.

But the Baggies, beaten by a late goal at Stoke in their last game before the international break, had that bit of quality when it mattered most, Grant cutting in from the left and finding space to fire a low shot past Serkic from just outside the box.

Blues have now won just once in their past 10 away league visits to The Hawthorns – and have gone five games in a row without scoring for the first time since 2005.

What’s next?

Both sides are back in action on Wednesday night when Val Ismael’s Albion visit Swansea and Bowyer’s Blues travel to Huddersfield.

West Bromwich Albion head coach Val Ismael:

“Three points, a clean sheet, and a good goal for Karlan Grant. A lot of positives to take.

“When you saw the statistic that they had conceded 12 goals in their last five games you knew something would change.

“It was a difficult game. But It was important that we stayed calm. We know we can score at any time – and it came.”

Birmingham City boss Lee Bowyer:

“I can’t fault the work ethic. We performed well as a group, looked solid and limited them to very little, mostly from distance.

“My only disappointment was the goal. We should have defended better. It was one lapse of concentration.

“But we can’t carry on missing chances. I think once we get one, they’ll start to go in.”

Line-ups

West Brom

Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Johnstone
  • 6Ajayi
  • 5Bartley
  • 16ClarkeBooked at 72mins
  • 2Furlong
  • 8Livermore
  • 27MowattSubstituted forMolumbyat 62′minutes
  • 3Townsend
  • 10Phillips
  • 7RobinsonSubstituted forHugillat 45′minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 18GrantBooked at 89minsSubstituted forReachat 90+1′minutes

Substitutes

  • 14Molumby
  • 17Hugill
  • 20Reach
  • 21Kipré
  • 22Bryan
  • 23Snodgrass
  • 25Button

Birmingham

Formation 3-4-3

  • 13Sarkic
  • 21Sanderson
  • 4Roberts
  • 5FriendSubstituted forGrahamat 83′minutes
  • 2ColinSubstituted forBelaat 47′minutes
  • 20Gardner
  • 34Sunjic
  • 3Pedersen
  • 7Chong
  • 10Jutkiewicz
  • 9HoganSubstituted forAnekeat 78′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Woods
  • 11Bela
  • 12Dean
  • 15Aneke
  • 24Graham
  • 27Trueman
  • 36Deeney

Referee:
Jeremy Simpson

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Birmingham City 0.

  2. Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Birmingham City 0.

  3. Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Dion Sanderson.

  4. Attempt saved. Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Matt Phillips with a cross.

  5. Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Adam Reach replaces Karlan Grant.

  6. Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Dion Sanderson.

  7. Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Foul by Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion).

  9. Tahith Chong (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Jordan Hugill (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.

  11. Attempt missed. Conor Townsend (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Karlan Grant with a cross following a corner.

  12. Attempt blocked. Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  13. Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Chuks Aneke.

  14. Attempt blocked. Karlan Grant (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  15. Conor Townsend (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Foul by Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City).

  17. Attempt missed. Jérémie Bela (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

  18. Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Matthew Clarke.

  19. Substitution, Birmingham City. Jordan Graham replaces George Friend.

  20. Attempt missed. Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

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