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Leaders West Brom breeze past play-off hopefuls Bristol City

Sky Bet Championship leaders West Brom cruised to a comprehensive 3-0 win at play-off hopefuls Bristol City despite Romaine Sawyers late red card.

Slaven Bilic’s team took the lead in the 32nd minute when Callum Robinson was left unmarked into City’s box and, although the advancing Daniel Bentley saved his initial shot, the ball rebounded off his face to beat the goalkeeper.

Four minutes later Bentley was at fault when he spilled a shot from Jake Livermore that he should have held and Hal Robson-Kanu was on hand to prod home from close range.

The game erupted after 75 minutes when Sawyers reacted angrily to being fouled by Jamie Paterson and appeared to grab the City substitute by the throat. After consulting an assistant, referee Darren England issued a straight red card.

Bilic remonstrated angrily at the decision but seconds later saw a weak header from Ashley Williams towards Bentley pounced upon by Robson-Kanu, who volleyed in his second to spark wild celebrations in the Albion dugout.

The visitors were well worth their interval lead, but City were left to rue costly errors for both goals.

Markus Henriksen gave the ball away in a dangerous position to leave his defence in trouble for the first and Famara Diedhiou was caught in possession trying to dribble out of defence for the second.

The visitors looked by far the more dangerous team in a sharp first-half display. Matheus Pereira saw a sweetly-struck volley blocked by Jack Hunt, while Williams halted a dangerous Robson-Kanu raid with a superbly-timed tackle.

Livermore found plenty of space to fire at goal, sending a low shot just wide from 25 yards after 34 minutes and having another effort beaten away by Bentley moments later.

And West Brom made their pressure count as Robinson and Robson-Kanu fired the visitors into a deserved 2-0 lead after two quickfire goals.

City barely threatened until the 44th minute when a Nahki Wells cross just eluded Callum O’Dowda as it flashed across goal.

The second half began with Albion again in the ascendancy, with Robson-Kanu volleying narrowly wide from 20 yards and Filip Krovinovic firing over after a powerful run.

Robson-Kanu should have made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute when breaking clear, only to shoot wide under challenge from Benkovic.

City were being outmuscled in all areas of the pitch and head coach Lee Johnson responded by sending on Andreas Weimann and Paterson for wingers Callum O’Dowda and Niclas Eliasson.

Wells was off target with two free-kicks from distance but the hosts were creating nothing from open play.

In contrast, Albion had another great chance when Robinson exchanged passes with Robson-Kanu and had his shot parried by Bentley.

Weimann volleyed over from a Jay Dasilva cross for the hosts before Sawyers was dismissed for his reaction to Paterson’s challenge.

However, the numerical disadvantage did not matter as Robson-Kanu capitalised on Williams’ slack header to wrap up victory.