James Morrison’s injury time equaliser spared West Brom from a third round FA Cup exit to Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City at the Hawthorns yesterday.
All the goals came in the final 23 minutes of the game, as West Brom’s controversial striker Saido Berahino came off the bench to put Tony Pulis’ side ahead in the 67th minute.
Bristol’s top scorer Jonathan Kodjia equalised with a header from Luke Freeman’s cross just seven minutes later, and substitute Kieran Agard looked to have won the game for the Robins in the final seven minutes, but Morrison came to West Brom’s rescue with a 95th minute close range effort.
West Brom made a lively start, with Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean both looking dangerous down the flanks. The final ball was lacking though, and it was to be the story of the first half for the Premier League team.
Ben Foster made his first appearance since March last year and looked as sharp as ever, denying Joe Bryan’s curling effort from the edge of the area.
Many critics doubted Bristol City’s chances of coming away with anything from the game. However, they will feel confident in front of their own fans at Ashton Gate that they can progress through to the next round of the competition.
West Brom failed to make it three home wins in a row after defeating Stoke City and Newcastle United in their previous Premier League games. They have made their task far more difficult for themselves, as Ashton Gate will be tough place to visit in two weeks time.
FootballLeagueWorld writer Ashley Williams identifies three things that we learned from the game…
1) Bristol City’s courageous performance
The Championship side put in a really gutsy performance on Saturday and held firm in the first half, as a Robins body was always on hand to make blocks and challenges.
The Baggies had plenty of chances to put the game out of sight in the first half, but the West Country side really stepped up a gear in the second half, and manager Steve Cotterill felt that their performance deserved to win the game.
The Championship side will have every confidence of going through to the fourth round.
2) Baggies lacking in the final third
West Brom will regret their slow start to the game and did have plenty of chances to put the game to bed in the first half, with chances for McClean and Morrison before the break.
However, they deserve credit for not panicking when faced with being embarrassed by the Championship side.
Unsettled striker Berahino really showed his class, taking him just four minutes from coming off the bench to bag a goal for the Baggies.
If he does decide to move in January, with Tottenham being heavily linked for the 22-year-old, then they will certainly need to replace the England man with a definitive finisher that they are lacking.
3) Ashton Gate worries for West Brom
Bristol City’s home ground is a fortress for the Championship side that will aim to unsettle the Baggies when they travel to the West Country in two weeks times.
Despite sitting in the bottom three of the Championship, they have picked up points against promotion chasers Hull City and play-off hopefuls Wolves at home this season.
The Baggies have a unimpressive away record with just three wins on the road all season, and will have to summon up a effort at Ashton Gate if they are to progress to the fourth round.
Bristol City fans… What did you think of the performance yesterday? Do you have a chance of progressing to the fourth round in the replay? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!