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West Bromwich Albion 3-2 Birmingham City: Jake Livermore scores stunning winner

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Jake Livermore scored his second goal for the Baggies this season

West Bromwich Albion twice came from behind as they beat Birmingham City to earn first-team coach James Shan his third straight win as caretaker boss.

But they needed a lucky break to do it, with a second equaliser from a Jay Rodriguez penalty given for a foul which appeared to take place outside the box.

Having led through headers from Gary Gardner and Lukas Jutkiewicz, only to be pegged back first by Dwight Gayle, then Rodriguez, Albion went on to win the West Midlands derby with a low, powerful drive from Jake Livermore.

It completed a miserable March for Garry Monk’s City, who have now lost five matches in a row, as well as being docked nine points for breaching the EFL’s financial rules.

Albion climb back to within four points of second-placed Sheffield United, while Blues remain five points clear of trouble, anxiously awaiting the rest of the weekend’s results.

Shan, who has been in charge since Darren Moore was sacked on 9 March, has now presided over victories in each of his three matches.

For Blues, it was their first game since the EFL points penalty was handed out exactly a week ago and they found themselves ahead after just seven minutes.

Connor Mahoney’s third successive right wing corner found Gardner unmarked and the on-loan Aston Villa midfielder expertly steered in a downward header from 12 yards which reared into the roof of the net.

The visitors had chances to extend their lead before the break, the best of which needed a superb block header by Ahmed Hegazi to deny Blues top scorer Che Adams.

Gayle did go close too, with a mistimed header which looped over off his back and tamely over but there was little sign of the second-half fireworks that were to come.

Less than two minutes into the second half, Albion were level when Gayle headed his first goal in seven games – his 17th of the season – from Chris Brunt’s right wing, in-swinging free-kick.

Blues then went back in front when Jutkiewicz got the better of lot of a penalty-box tussle to head home another Mahoney corner, his 11th of the season, but his first since 25 November.

But within six minutes, Albion had equalised again.

Mahoney’s desperate challenge on Conor Townsend seemed to make contact outside the area, but referee David Webb gave the penalty. Rodriguez sent Lee Camp the wrong way with his 19th goal of the campaign.

And there was worse to come for Blues when they failed to clear their lines, as the ball dropped to Livermore – and the seven-times capped England midfielder thumped a low right-foot half volley past the unsighted Camp, who dived over the top of it, beaten for pace.

West Brom first-team coach James Shan told BBC Sport:

“I’m happy to keep going game by game. The players are very professional and are very comfortable with it.

“It’s not been that different to my previous first-team role but now I’m just making more key decisions. I’ve felt quite comfortable with it and the lads’ response has been excellent.

“We showed great resilience and character, but the group have had that throughout the season.

“We know they are a big threat with Lukas Jutkiewicz up front and Che Adams playing off him. But we were with it better in the second half and it was a fantastic finish by Jake Livermore that won it. A great connection worthy of being a winning goal.”

Birmingham manager Garry Monk told BBC Sport:

“It’s a very tough one for us, a difficult one for the players to take. People will talk about the five defeats, but we’ve had another poor decision go against us.

“I didn’t need to see it again. The challenge for their penalty was outside the box and even if wasn’t, it should have been a corner.

“But we limited them to only three shots on our goal and, if we continue to show that spirit, we’ll get to where we want to get to.

“It was great for Jukey to score again but he’s been fantastic with his all round contribution all season.”

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