Baggies look for first away win at Ashton Gate

Bristol City v West Bromwich Albion; Ashton Gate, Saturday 16th September 2023, 3pm

After conceding deep into stoppage time to lose their unbeaten home record immediately before the international break, Carlos Corberán’s Albion will be keen to get back to winning ways as they travel to Bristol City on Saturday for the resumption of the league campaign.

It would be a first away victory of the season for the Baggies but a third home defeat for the Robins who lost 2-0 to Birmingham City at Aston Gate in August, and also went out of the Carabao Cup on their own patch losing 1-0 to Norwich City. However, having remained undefeated on their travels, they currently sit three places and one point better off than Albion in the Championship table having beaten Swansea City and Millwall, and drawn with Hull City on their travels. Their only point at home this season game in the opening day draw with current leaders Preston North End.

The Robins were fairly quiet in the transfer window bringing in Robert Dickie from QPR, Ross McCrorie from Aberdeen, Haydon Roberts from Brighton and Jayson Knight from Derby County all on permanent deals. They then, of course, signed Taylor Gardner-Hickman on loan much to the dismay of many Baggies fans, although he will, of course, be ineligible to play in this fixture.

Corberán chose to change formation in the last match against Huddersfield Town and I’m sure he would be the first to agree that it didn’t really work. Whether the reversion to a back four was because of Semi Ajayi’s absence through illness or a change to address what the Spaniard felt would be a very different challenge against Warnock’s team, I’m not sure, but the lack of an extra man at the back meant that Albion were unable to effectively play out with a good press from the Terriers blocking off the few avenues that there may have been. Having said that, had Maja lifted his late effort, the result could have easily gone the other way and, while it was a below par performance, I don’t think we should be panicking too much just yet.

Deadline day signing, Pipa, will now be available for selection and, while I don’t necessarily expect him to come into the side straight away, Furlong will now know he has some real competition for the right back/right wing back spot. Ajayi should be available once again having played 90 minutes for Nigeria in their 6-0 win against São Tomé and Príncipe last weekend, so I would not be surprised to see a return to the starting line up from the win over Middlesbrough. While Wallace has not had the start to the season he would have liked, the indications from the club are that Corberán is not quite ready to trust Sarmiento from the start and I expect the skipper to keep his place, much as I would personally like to see more of the young Ecuadorian.

Grady Diangana is another option now available but, should CC stick with the 3-4-2-1 formation with the two behind the forward more tucked in allowing the wing backs to provide the width, I just don’t see a starting spot for Grady. He has never looked at home in the centre of the pitch and Phillips, undoubtedly Albion’s player of the season so far in my opinion, has looked effective as the left-sided wing back – moreover, Grady doesn’t have the discipline to cover defensively to the same degree.

Bristol City represent tough opposition on their day, although it seems that their days are mostly coming on the road this season and Albion will hopefully be able to take advantage of their indifferent home form. Of course, the Baggies’ own away record is little to write home about with just three wins in the sixteen away games in all competitions since their victory at Ashton Gate on Boxing Day last year. Back-to-back away wins in April revived Albion’s faint play-off hopes – it’s time for another one to raise those hopes for the new campaign.


Saturday’s fixture will be only Albion’s 29th visit to Ashton Gate and their 30th away game at Bristol City with the first such match in February 1902 taking place at the Robins’ St John’s Lane ground. Goals from Tommy Worton and Chippy Simmonds earned Albion a 2-1 victory that day, and it would be another quarter of a century before they recorded their first win at Ashton Gate, Tommy Glidden scoring the only goal in a Division Two fixture in October 1927.

That was only the Baggies fourth trip to Ashton Gate, however, with the sides spending most of the time in separate divisions and, other than a couple of FA Cup ties, the clubs only met when Albion dropped out of the top flight, although for five seasons before World War I, it was City in the top flight and Albion in Division Two. It would not be until Boxing Day 1976 that the two sides would meet for the first time in the top flight with both sides having won promotion together the previous summer. That first Division One meeting was at the Hawthorns with goals from David Cross for the hosts and Tom Ritchie for the visitors making the final score 1-1, while at Ashton Gate the following April, Albion won 2-1 with Cross again on the scoresheet with what turned out to be the winner after an own goal from former Leeds’ legend Norman Hunter had given Albion an early lead – a penalty for the hosts scored by Keith Fear made the final score 2-1.

The last top flight meeting was only thee years later, a 0-0 draw at Ashton Gate, as City were relegated and are yet to return to the elite of English football with the closest being a 4th place finish behind Tony Mowbray’s title winning Albion team of 2008 – they reached the play-off final but lost 1-0 to Phil Brown’s Hull City.

Albion have enjoyed the better of the meetings for most of the 21st century but suffered two defeats last season, a rare 2-0 home defeat in the final days of Steve Bruce’s tenure and a surprise 3-0 loss in the FA Cup. In between, the Baggies won 2-0 at Ashton Gate on Boxing Day on what was a comfortable afternoon remembered for Brandon Thomas-Asante’s sumptuous finish from 40 yards.

Stat Attack

Current Form

Albion L L W D W L
Bristol City W W L D L W

All competitions; most recent game on the right

Last matches

Last meeting

28 Jan 2023 – FA Cup 4th Round
Bristol City 3 (Bell (2), Scott)
West Bromwich Albion 0

Last win

26 Dec 2022 – League Championship
Bristol City 0
West Bromwich Albion 2 (Phillips, Thomas-Asante)

Albion’s Record against Bristol City

  Overall   Away
  P W D L F A   P W D L F A
League 48 21 13 14 75 52   24 8 6 10 30 29
FA Cup 6 3 2 1 12 9   3 1 1 1 2 4
League Cup 2 0 1 1 2 3   1 0 0 1 0 1
Other 1 0 0 1 0 1   1 0 0 1 0 1
Total 57 24 16 17 89 65   29 9 7 13 32 35

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