Championship Review: Baggies beat Stoke as Villa ship four
Dwight Gayle scored a brace as West Brom increased the pressure on Gary Rowett with a 2-1 home win over Stoke City on Saturday.
Steve Bruce is beginning to find himself in a similarly sticky situation after a worrying 4-1 loss at an impressive Sheffield United left Aston Villa with the joint second-worst defensive record in the Championship.
Derby County, in contrast, have surged to fourth following a second victory against Hull City in less than a week, with Florian Jozefzoon the hero in a late 2-1 triumph at KCOM Stadium.
And the Rams are joined in the top six by Brentford, who edged Nottingham Forest by the same scoreline for their first win in three matches.
— Sky Bet Championship (@SkyBetChamp) September 1, 2018
GAYLE GUNS DOWN POTTERS
Impressive 2-0 winners over Huddersfield Town in midweek EFL Cup action, Stoke were given a sobering reminder of reality with a third loss of the season at the Hawthorns.
On-loan Newcastle United striker Gayle netted either side of half-time for the Baggies, who have now won six of their past seven competitive games.
Benik Afobe hit the bar with a 71st-minute penalty that could have made things interesting as Stoke's only consolation came in the shape of an Erik Pieters rocket deep into added time.
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) September 1, 2018
BLADES PUT VILLA TO THE SWORD
Winless in four competitive games before Saturday, Villa's concerns only deepened throughout a dreadful first half at Bramall Lane.
Jack O'Connell, Mark Duffy and Oliver Norwood all scored as the hosts ran riot in the opening 45 minutes, before Billy Sharp netted his third league goal soon after the interval.
Anwar El Ghazi, signed on loan from Lille, did add some respectability to the scoreline with his maiden Villa goal after the hour, but manager Bruce has questions to answer after another busy transfer window.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) September 1, 2018
RAMS ROLL ON
Derby appear to be adapting well to Frank Lampard's methods with the Pride Park side having now taken maximum points from their last three league fixtures.
Though not as straightforward as the 4-0 victory they recorded when these teams met in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, the Rams did enough to consign Hull to back-to-back home defeats.
It seemed as though the Nigel Adkins' side would secure a much-needed point when Todd Kane cancelled out Martyn Waghorn's early penalty, but winger Jozefzoon - on target in midweek - popped up to snatch all three points in the 88th minute, keeping Derby level on points with fourth-placed Sheffield.
"Our character came through at the end."
— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) September 1, 2018