Livermore’s late stunner seals dramatic West Brom win over Birmingham City
West Brom kept alive their slim hopes of an automatic promotion spot with Jake Livermore’s thunderous half-volley sealing a dramatic comeback win against Birmingham at the Hawthorns, their third victory in succession under the caretaker manager, James Shan.
Albion had battled back to 2-2 after trailing twice when, with 16 minutes to go, Birmingham’s defence failed to clear Dwight Gayle’s cross and Livermore’s effort from the edge of the area crashed past Lee Camp in the City goal. Livermore’s only other goal this season also proved vital – it was the injury-time winner in the 3-2 victory over QPR last month.
“It was great resilience and great character,” said Shan. “I think the group and the team have had that throughout the season.”
Birmingham, who were this week docked nine points for a breach of the Football League’s profitability and sustainability rules, a penalty that sent them from the top half down to 18th place in the table, took the lead after seven minutes. Connor Mahoney’s corner was headed home by the unmarked Gary Gardner from close range.
It was no more than Gary Monk’s side deserved after a bright opening and it took a smart tackle from Ahmed Hegazi to stop Che Adams from doubling the lead just after the half-hour mark.
Five minutes before the interval City’s Lukasz Jutkiewicz found himself unmarked 10 yards out but planted his free header straight at Sam Johnstone in the West Brom goal.
Albion, ragged throughout the first half, found their stride early in the second and were back on level terms within two minutes of the restart. Chris Brunt’s inswinging free-kick was met by Gayle, who glanced home his 17th goal of the season.
That appeared to have turned the tide but the home side were found wanting from another Birmingham corner just before the hour. This time Jutkiewicz was the beneficiary of slack marking, heading home his first goal since November.
Albion drew level once more six minutes later. Mahoney dived in to bring down James Morrison in the penalty area and Jay Rodriguez made no mistake from the spot.
“It is another poor decision that has gone against us,” said Monk. “The referee guessed and he guessed against us.”
But there was nothing uncertain about Livermore’s late winner.