Match ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Aston Villa 0.
- Craig Gardner scores against former club
- West Brom's first win since 1 November
- Kieran Richardson sent off
- Fabian Delph returns for Villa
West Brom midfielder Craig Gardner scored against former club Aston Villa to end the Baggies' run of five Premier League matches without a win.
Gardner, 28, capitalised on a scramble inside the area and fired through a crowd of bodies after Stephane Sessegnon's shot had been blocked.
Villa had earlier been reduced to 10 men after Kieran Richardson was sent off for a late tackle on Sessegnon.
Christian Benteke's close-range shot late on was the best Villa could offer.
This week Villa chief executive Tom Fox outlined a desire for the club to challenge for European football within the next three years.
Although Gardner, who played for Villa from 2005 to 2010, said in the build-up to the West Midlands derby that Villa were no longer the biggest club in the region.
The last time the two sides met in January the match finished in a thrilling 4-3 scoreline in Villa's favour, but following the dismissal of Richardson the visitors rarely threatened the West Brom goal.
Richardson, who scored one of the goals which kept West Brom in the Premier League on a dramatic final day in the 2004-05 season, overstretched after a heavy touch and caught Sessegnon with a late tackle.
With the extra man advantage West Brom dominated the remainder of the first half, and the home side felt they should have had a penalty on the half-hour mark when Sessegnon's cross struck the hand of Carlos Sanchez but referee Mike Dean waved away the appeals.
|Tight West Midlands derbies|
|There has never been more than a one-goal margin between the sides in their 17 Premier League meetings.|
The overlapping runs of Albion left-back Sebastien Pocognoli caused problems for Villa throughout, and moments before the interval he cut a cross back for Sessegnon who saw his close-range effort saved by visiting goalkeeper Brad Guzan.
Villa midfielder Fabian Delph came on at the break for Charles N'Zogbia as he made his first appearance since a shoulder injury picked up in early October.
Despite Delph's added tenacity Albion remained the dominant force as they searched for the decisive goal.
And Albion's pressure eventually told in the 72nd minute as Gardner grabbed the winner when Sessegnon's shot bounced off Brown Ideye for him to guide the ball home. It was Gardner's first goal since he joined from Sunderland in the summer.
Benteke went close late on when he got on the end of Ciaran Clark's knockdown, but could only guide his effort wide of the post.
West Brom head coach Alan Irvine: "Everyone assumes it's easy with 10 men but it isn't. It was never a foregone conclusion.
"However, I felt as long as we played with composure and didn't try to hurry things we would do it.
"From my point of view it's a great goal. Craig Gardner did well to finish it off. The players have been great for me."
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "I'm disappointed but I felt we did well with 10 men.
"The sending off changed the course of the game.
"I don't think there was any malice in it from Kieran but I can understand why the ref's sent him off."
- 23McAuleyBooked at 18mins
- 15PocognoliBooked at 63mins
- 17DorransSubstituted forBerahinoat 70'minutes
- 27VarelaBooked at 78mins
- 8GardnerBooked at 90mins
- 21HuttonBooked at 65mins
- 23CissokhoSubstituted forWeimannat 78'minutes
- 8CleverleyBooked at 42mins
- 24C SánchezSubstituted forVlaarat 78'minutes
- 18RichardsonBooked at 22mins
- 28N'ZogbiaSubstituted forDelphat 45'minutes
- Mike Dean
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, West Bromwich Albion 1, Aston Villa 0.
Attempt missed. Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Craig Gardner (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.
Hand ball by Craig Gardner (West Bromwich Albion).
Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Foul by Christian Benteke (Aston Villa).
Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Jores Okore (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Brown Ideye (West Bromwich Albion).
Foul by Jores Okore (Aston Villa).
Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Andreas Weimann.
Offside, Aston Villa. Fabian Delph tries a through ball, but Christian Benteke is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Attempt missed. Christian Benteke (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Ciaran Clark with a headed pass following a set piece situation.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Andreas Weimann replaces Aly Cissokho.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Ron Vlaar replaces Carlos Sánchez.
Silvestre Varela (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Fabian Delph (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.