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West Brom see off Bristol City to return to top of Championship

West Brom survived a scare to return to the top of the Sky Bet Championship with a 4-1 victory over Bristol City.

Left-back Kieran Gibbs struck after 10 minutes and a Matheus Pereira free-kick after 39 sealed what appeared to be a comfortable win for Albion.

Bristol City’s Ashley Williams was denied by an offside flag to signal a brief second-half improvement in the visitors.

Substitute Famara Diedhiou halved the deficit with 10 minutes left only for Hal Robson-Kanu to restore Albion’s two-goal cushion two minutes later.

Substitute Charlie Austin grabbed Albion’s fourth in the 87th minute to seal their fourth successive victory – the first time they have achieved the feat in over seven years.

West Brom took the lead with the first attack of the game and a delightfully well-worked one it was too.

Grady Diangana started the move when he tackled Bailey Wright in midfield, before squaring to Robson-Kanu while carrying on his run.

When the ball came back to the on-loan West Ham winger, he cleverly backheeled it into the path of Gibbs, who steered the ball home from 10 yards.

Bristol City were woeful throughout the first half, with their sole threats long-range efforts from Josh Brownhill and Kasey Palmer, the first of which flew well wide and the other was comfortable for goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.

It was no surprise when the Baggies doubled their lead.

Diangana was again involved when the tricky winger was tripped by Wright inches outside the area in a central position.

Pereira curled a delightful free-kick into the top corner of the net, to the right of goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, who remained rooted to the spot. It was the on-loan Sporting playmaker’s fourth goal of the season.

City made a double substitution at half-time, with Niclas Eliasson and Diedhiou replacing Wright and Palmer.

The visitors immediately showed an improvement, with City having the ball in the net in the 50th minute when Diedhiou’s shot on the turn was tipped away by Johnstone, but the flag went up for offside before Williams stabbed home.

Albion weathered City’s storm and were denied two chances to make it 3-0 in quick succession.

Nathan Baker blocked Diangana’s shot then Bentley clawed away Robson-Kanu’s rising effort.

Diedhiou gave Albion a fright when he netted with a shot on the turn from six yards after the hosts failed to clear Eliasson’s corner.

But Robson-Kanu’s fifth goal in seven games came when he volleyed home at the near post from Matt Phillips’ cross.

Then Austin bundled in after Bentley diverted his initial effort on to the post, from another Phillips delivery.