Ashley Westwood and Karim el Ahmadi inspired Aston villa to a remarkable comeback against a West Bromwich Albion side that looked to have the game wrapped up after 11 minutes.
Shane Long netted a brace with just 10 minutes of the game gone. His first goal came on three minutes when the Irishman brought down a long Chris Brunt pass with a Bergkamp-like deft touch on the right side of the box before cutting past Villa defender Nathan Baker and firing past ‘keeper Brad Guzan with a powerful left foot drive. Long’s second goal on 10 minutes was gifted to him by Villa's right back Leandro Bacuna who’s square pass was latched upon by the Baggies striker who elegantly chipped past Guzan from a narrow angle on the right.
Stephane Sessignon should have added a third but missed a simple tap-in at the far post which proved costly in the second half.
After the break however, West Brom continued to dominate until the hour mark when a triple substitution by Villa boss Paul Lambert changed the game. On came Andy Weimann, Gabby Agbonlahor and Fabian Delph and Villa were a different team. The Baggies’ lost their grip and on 67 minutes a right-wing cross by Bacuna was headed forward by Weimann and Karim El Ahmadi found himself behind the Baggies defence from where he coolly lifted the ball over keeper Boaz Myhill from the right hand side of the six yard box.
That goal lifted the Villa and on 76 minutes their pressure was too much for the team in dark blue and white. Defender Goran Popov's headed clearance fell into the path of Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood who controlled superbly before lashing the ball home from 25 yards to complete the unexpected comeback.
Villa manager Paul Lambert was the happier of the two bosses after the ‘game of two halves’ while Baggies manager Steve Clarke said he was disappointed with his team’s loss of concentration which led to the two Villa goals. ‘From 2- 0 up at home, we should win the game,’ he lamented.