West Bromwich Albion substitute Charlie Austin came off the bench to stun Birmingham City with two goals in eight minutes to win the West Midlands derby.
Albion looked to be heading for a first defeat in 12 games after headed goals from Lukas Jutkiewicz and Harlee Dean at the start of each half, either side of the visitors’ first equaliser from Grady Diangana.
But Austin superbly levelled again in the 73rd minute, just three minutes after coming on, when he flicked up Jake Livermore’s short pass before firing a right-footed half-volley from 20 yards past home goalkeeper Connal Trueman.
Eight minutes later, Austin won it for Albion when he peeled away at the far post to meet Darnell Furlong’s right-wing cross with a textbook header.
Austin’s quickfire double took his personal goal tally to six in his past five appearances after a faltering start to his Albion career – and his team back to the top of the Championship, although Leeds will return to the summit if they beat Cardiff at Elland Road (15:00 GMT kick-off).
But that is now just one win in eight games for Pep Clotet’s Blues, who have not won at home now in four matches.
Clotet made three changes to his starting line-up from Wednesday’s home loss to QPR, bringing in Geraldo Bajrami for his full Championship debut, along with Jutkiewicz and midfielder David Davis.
Those alterations brought instant rewards when Blues went in front after three minutes. Two Albion defenders went out to close down Maxime Colin wide on the right, but neither challenged, and the Blues right-back threaded his cross between them for the recalled Jutkiewicz to outjump and Nathan Ferguson head home.
Albion were level within seven minutes after Blues failed to clear the second of two Matheus Pereira corners in quick succession, Matt Phillips drilled across the face of goal and Diangana, on loan from West Ham, instinctively stuck out a foot to guide the ball into the roof of the net.
The loss of Diangana with what looked like a hamstring injury disrupted Albion and hardworking Blues might have been back in front two minutes before the break when Jude Bellingham picked out roving left-back Kristian Pedersen’s run into the box, but goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was alert enough to deny him.
Blues made an even faster start to the second half at St Andrew’s, netting within two minutes of the resumption.
Dean got above Conor Townsend to meet Bellingham’s left-wing corner and, although the pace of his header from 12 yards out should not have been enough to trouble Johnstone, his view was blinded by the mistimed jump in front of him by Ferguson.
The way City were playing, their lead was certainly justified. But they also led in both last season’s two fixtures with Albion and did not win, twice leading at The Hawthorns in March only to lose 3-2.
And again, the Baggies had a sting in the tail thanks to Austin’s late double which secured an eighth away win of the season for Slaven Bilic’s side.