The Baggies win over the Toffees had moved them into 18th place, level on points with Southampton who were outside of the relegation zone. Saturday’s results meant that the Baggies could move above the Saints with a result at Villa Park in game 32.
Aston Villa 1 West Brom 1
The Baggies went to the home of their nearest rivals having picked up nine points in their previous four games and the Great Escape looked to be a possibility. Southampton’s 3-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers the day before meant that Albion would move out of the bottom three should they avoid defeat to Aston Villa. However, Norwich City’s shock 2-0 win over Manchester United had brought them back into the pack somewhat, so it was still all to play for.
Villa started the game well and Russell Hoult was called into action to save from both Darius Vassell and Jlloyd Samuel while Juan Pablo Angel missed the target with two decent chances. Just before the half hour mark, a corner from Nolberto Solano was met by Baggie-to-be, Liam Ridgewell whose powerful header was parried by Hoult, only for Vassell to nod home the rebound to give the hosts a deserved lead.
Kevin Campbell missed a couple of decent chances to equalise before the break and Albion went in at half time a goal behind.
Shortly after the break, Martin Laursen had to make a last ditch intervention to prevent Geoff Horsfield getting onto the end of Martin Albrechtsen’s cross before, on the hour mark, the derby atmosphere got the better of Ridgewell and Jonathan Greening when they both received red cards after a bit of rutting.
Vassell almost scored a second but his header was saved by Hoult once again, and Albion broke up the other end and Zoltán Gera really should have scored when he was played in by Kevin Campbell, but Thomas Sørensen managed to deflect it wide.
It looked like the points would be Villa’s until, deep into stoppage time, Gera received the ball wide right, fed Scimeca on the overlap, and the former Villain’s cross flicked off Delaney’s head and fell beautifully onto the head of Paul Robinson who powered the ball home from about eight yards.
It was Robbo’s first ever goal for Albion and it could scarcely have been more important as that point lifted the Baggies into 17th place with just six games of the season to go. It would still be a roller coaster finish, however.
On the same day, Crystal Palace were thumped 4-0 at Everton to leave the table as follows.
Premier League Table – 10th April 2005
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