Carlos Corberan was left to rue West Brom striker Brandon Thomas-Asante’s failure to manage the situation after he was handed two quick-fire yellow cards in the first half of his side’s 1-0 defeat to Sunderland at The Hawthorns.

West Brom were reduced to 10 men in the 43rd minute when Thomas-Asante was booked twice in quick succession for fouls on Jack Clarke and Dan Ballard – the latter whose every touch was booed by the home fans after his challenge in the reverse fixture had ruled Josh Maja out for four months.

Albion’s situation worsened further in first half stoppage time when Pierre Ekwah struck the only goal and inflicted a first defeat in 11 matches on the hosts, who are still seeking to confirm their place in the Championship play-offs.

The Baggies were marginally the better side heading towards half-time and with the game goalless, but a dramatic few minutes saw them lose their striker and fall behind.

“The second yellow card had a massive impact. You can have desire, but when you have a yellow card, you need to increase the calm,” Corberan said.

“To concede from a set-piece after losing a player is painful.

“If the referee understood it to be a yellow card, it has been our mistake to achieve two yellow cards. It’s a lesson for Brandon and it’s a lesson for us.

“We haven’t had the experience to play with a player less since I arrived. I know for some teams how much of a disadvantage it can be.

“For me it was unfair that in the first game, they injured Maja. It was a terrible action. It was unbelievable. The player (Ballard) who scored that day injured a player and the referee didn’t send him off or give him a yellow card.

“It was ridiculous – not just because it was against us, I am talking about football. If somebody today breaks their limits with two actions, they’re two yellow cards. When you have a yellow card, you must control yourself.”

Sunderland interim manager Mike Dodds, who guided the Black Cats to only their second victory in 12 with this win, was pleased with Ballard’s application in a testing atmosphere.

The centre-half enjoyed conducting the celebrations with the travelling supporters at the final whistle.

“It can work that way,” Dodds replied, when asked whether the boos could act as a performance stimulus.

“When you have a group like ours, and the opposition fans want to give some stick, they’ll stick up for each other. It brings the group closer together, but Dan is a big boy. He’s an international, he’s a Premier League player in waiting for me. He can take it.

“I was a bit surprised. I am always respectful to the fans, but the first boo did take me by surprise.

“He’s a great kid, Dan. West Brom fans target him, that’s fine, it’s a part of the game. Dan showed today he can handle that side of the game, but I didn’t need today as confirmation.”

Ten-man West Brom’s Championship play-off charge was dented as Sunderland won 1-0 at The Hawthorns.

Pierre Ekwah netted the winner after connecting first time with a Callum Styles corner at the end of the first half.

That immediately followed West Brom forward Brandon Thomas-Asante’s 43rd-minute red card for two bookable offences, the first Albion player to be sent off of Carlos Corberan’s 16-month reign.

The defeat left the Baggies fifth, seven points clear of seventh-placed Hull, who had a game in hand.

Sunderland centre-half Dan Ballard, whose foul on West Brom striker Josh Maja in the reverse fixture at the Stadium Of Light back in December ruled the striker out for four months, was booed by the home crowd with his every touch.

West Brom began with a greater tempo than their visitors, who had played out two goalless draws prior to this.

Sunderland captain Luke O’Nien was required to nod behind a teasing delivery from Albion winger Mikey Johnston before Nathaniel Chalobah tested his luck from outside of the penalty area with a dipping effort which goalkeeper Anthony Patterson claimed at the second attempt.

The real first-half drama unfolded in the final few minutes leading up to the break.

Thomas-Asante was late when he caught Jack Clarke and was appropriately booked by referee Matthew Donohue.

The man in the middle reached for his pocket a minute later when the Albion striker took a heavy touch and, in attempting to retrieve the ball, cleaned out Ballard. Thomas-Asante was duly given his marching orders.

Things got worse for the hosts in first half stoppage time. Styles took a corner from the left and Ekwah, near the penalty spot, was left unmarked and was able to stylishly steer the ball into the top corner, well beyond the reach of Alex Palmer, to the delight of the strong away following.

Sunderland returned with more of a swagger to their play against their depleted opponents.

Midfielder Dan Neil was teed up by Chris Rigg on the edge of the penalty area and he stung the palms of Palmer, who had to help the ball over the bar.

John Swift bent a shot just wide of Patterson’s far post from the edge of the area, but Sunderland themselves came close to killing the game as a contest when Styles cut inside from the left and arrowed a curling shot wide of the outstretching Palmer’s far post.

For West Brom, there was a lack of potency following Thomas-Asante’s dismissal and the Black Cats claimed just their second victory in 12 league matches, ending Albion’s 10-match unbeaten run.

Rotherham manager Leam Richardson was left perplexed by referee Geoff Eltringham’s decision to award West Brom a penalty in the Baggies’ 2-0 win over the already-relegated Millers at the Hawthorns.

Brandon Thomas-Asante had handed the promotion-chasing hosts a 23rd-minute lead before Eltringham pointed to the spot when the striker’s shot struck Lee Peltier, though replays showed he was outside the box and the ball appeared to strike his face.

John Swift netted the resulting penalty in first-half stoppage time to settle the Championship fixture.

Richardson said: “I’ve not seen that before. The assistant was maybe 10 yards away looking down the line of it. Then he goes and books my assistant manager (Rob Kelly) for telling him ‘the linesman can help’. It was a wrong decision, and a poor one in my opinion. It changed the full outcome of the game.

“The first goal we gave away was poor, but then I thought the second one changed the whole complex.

“Someone said in another interview that those decisions go against you when you’re down there, but that’s a disgusting way of looking at it. You should have a consistency of professionalism regardless.

“I never question anyone’s integrity, but I can’t explain that decision.

“We’ve had a number of similar decisions and apology letters, but I have no interest in that. You can’t get those decisions wrong.”

Asked if he would report the match officials, Richardson said: “What? And get another apology letter?”

Richardson’s opposing number Carlos Corberan, who has guided West Brom into fifth and nine points clear of the chasing pack with four matches left to play, said he had not seen a replay of the incident.

“I didn’t see the action back,” he said.

“I knew from the level of the protests from the players and the staff, I understood that there was no doubt that it was the wrong decision. In these situations, you always want fair decisions.

“Later in the game there was another decision, maybe a foul on Asante inside the box, that the referee didn’t whistle.

“If the referee did something wrong, he can, let’s say, compensate for this, but during the year, unfortunately the referees haven’t had the support to guarantee the right or wrong decisions. Live, they need to make quick decisions.

“Sometimes they make mistakes because everyone does. It happens in your favour sometimes, sometimes not. We have, this year, received a lot of wrong decisions against us, which we don’t want in the same way we don’t want any type of advantage in the decision.

“If the action wasn’t a penalty, it’s a pity, but hopefully it’s a compensation of something that we have suffered from before.”

West Brom beat already-relegated Rotherham 2-0 at The Hawthorns to consolidate their place in the Championship play-offs.

Brandon Thomas-Asante and John Swift secured the win as the Baggies took full advantage of slip-ups by the chasing pack.

The major talking point came in the lead up to Swift’s goal from the penalty spot. Referee Geoff Eltringham adjudged defender Lee Peltier to have handled the ball despite clearly being outside of the penalty area.

Rotherham initially negated Albion’s efforts to make an early breakthrough. Swift had an opportunity when he met Tom Fellows’ low centre from the right but he guided his effort over the bar.

Thomas-Asante then was played in, over the top, by Swift, but the striker forced his shot wide from a tight angle.

West Brom went ahead midway through the first half. Celtic loanee Mikey Johnston sent Adam Reach racing down the left and he delivered a sharp low ball for Thomas-Asante, who could not miss from a couple of yards out.

Rotherham, having fallen behind, might have allowed the floodgates to open but they themselves began to play with more purpose.

Hakeem Odoffin sent a deep cross from the right which Cafu ambitiously met on the volley but ultimately hammered his half chance well over the bar.

West Brom doubled their lead in first-half stoppage time, however, in the most controversial of circumstances. Thomas-Asante leathered a shot from around 25 yards out which appeared goalbound, only for the ball to strike Peltier.

Referee Eltringham paused for a moment before pointing to the spot – despite Peltier appearing to be a number of yards outside of the penalty area.

The decision was greeted with disbelief by The Hawthorns and understandable bemusement by Rotherham, who had assistant head coach Rob Kelly booked for his protests. Swift duly converted to hand the hosts a half-time cushion.

Rotherham returned to the field undeterred and so easily could have pulled one back immediately when Sebastian Revan burst into the penalty area and laid the ball off for his captain Oliver Rathbone, who fizzed a shot just wide of Alex Palmer’s post.

Revan himself then tested Palmer but the Millers were grateful to their own keeper Viktor Johansson, who stopped Thomas-Asante adding to West Brom’s tally after he was superbly played in by Johnston.

The hosts’ top scorer then blazed an effort over the bar from six yards out in what was his final act before he made way for the returning Josh Maja in the closing stages.

West Brom boss Carlos Corberan was full of praise for striker Brandon Thomas-Asante after his two goals helped earn the Baggies a 4-1 win over Blackburn.

The hosts were three up inside 33 minutes thanks to a Tom Fellows effort, an own goal by Dominic Hyam and a Thomas-Asante strike.

Jake Garrett pulled a goal back for Blackburn after 60 minutes, but Thomas-Asante soon restored the hosts’ three-goal advantage.

West Brom cement fifth position, five points clear of sixth place, whilst Blackburn drop to 18th in the table and are winless in six league games.

Corberan, whose side strengthened their position in fifth, said of Thomas-Asante’s display: “Excellent, not only for the goals but the way he was linking the play and how he was helping the team build attacks.

“The most important thing with Brandon is his mentality and his physical condition to play and always be ready to help the team.

“The most important moment is every game he plays with us and today he was able to help the team with the goals that he scored.”

The afternoon saw the return of key players John Swift, Adam Reach and Jed Wallace for West Brom and Corberan was delighted to have the trio back after injury lay-offs.

“I liked a lot the contribution of Reach, I think he was perfect for the type of game we wanted to play today,” the head coach said.

“His contribution in defending was very important too.

“To have all your fullest squad is one of the key points in the Championship.”

Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson admitted it was a bad day at the office for his side, who have now conceded the most goals in the Championship

“We need to accept it was not a good day,” he said. “We knew coming here with the quality of West Brom it would be a tough task. I thought we started the game well, but I was disappointed in the manner we gave the goals away.

“We gave three set-piece goals away today. When Garrett scored an excellent goal in the second half we had a chance to get back in the game, but we conceded immediately.

“The only thing I was pleased with today was to give Sam Gallagher minutes who’s been out for four months.”

Tomasson feels his side are too easy to score against at the moment.

“When you look at the whole play, I thought we were just as good as West Brom, but games are won in each box in the way you defend,” he said.

“Are you winning your duels, are you winning your personal duels, the first and second contact, are you smelling danger all those things? Football is won in each box and we need to do better.”

West Brom further cemented their position in the Championship play-off places with a thumping 4-1 win over struggling Blackburn at The Hawthorns.

Tom Fellows opened the scoring after 12 minutes with a header before Brandon Thomas-Asante doubled the hosts’ lead on the half-hour mark.

An unfortunate own goal by Dominic Hyam three minutes later all but wrapped up victory for the Baggies before half-time.

Blackburn pulled a goal back after 60 minutes through Jake Garrett, but the visitors badly missed top-scorer Sammy Szmodics, out through illness.

And the host put the game to bed as Thomas-Asante struck his ninth league goal of the season after 63 minutes.

West Brom stay fifth, while Blackburn drop to 18th, 10 points above the relegation zone but winless in six league matches.

West Brom opened the scoring after Darnell Furlong’s long throw was not dealt with by the Blackburn defence.

After initial contact from Kyle Bartley at the front post, Fellows was able to head the ball into the net from a yard out at the back post.

John Swift volleyed over a chance for the second when he was found in behind the Rovers defence by a delightful Alex Mowatt pass.

Furlong then also found himself in behind but could not pick out Thomas-Asante for a clear chance on goal.

Thomas-Asante, though, only needed one sight of goal as, from 18 yards, he fired a low strike across goal and beyond the stretching arm of Leopold Wahlstedt.

A Hyam own goal put the hosts 3-0 up, the ball deflecting in off him after Wahlstedt was unable to collect Mowatt’s strike.

An opportunity to add a was passed up when a deep cross found Fellows, who took the ball down well but struck a left-footed shot wide.

In first half added time Fellows was presented with another good opportunity which he fired over.

Five minutes into the second half Blackburn had their best chance of the match when they caught West Brom playing out from the back.

Harry Leonard only had the goalkeeper to beat but scuffed his shot and it was an easy save for Alex Palmer to make.

Wahlstedt pushed away Fellows’ near-post shot before Palmer leapt across his goal-line to beat away a Sondre Tronstad effort.

The visitors pulled a goal back with half-an-hour remaining when Garrett showed neat footwork and a precise finish into the bottom corner to beat Palmer.

However, Thomas-Asante scored his second of the afternoon with a close-range finish to restore the Baggies’ three-goal cushion.

Norwich head coach David Wagner admitted he would be having words with Borja Sainz, whose early red card potentially cost his side in the 1-0 Championship defeat against West Brom at The Hawthorns.

Winger Sainz was sent off in the 34th minute for two bookable offences within five minutes – the second for a needless dissent – after twice going close to giving the Canaries the lead.

Brandon Thomas-Asante’s 50th-minute goal sealed the points for the Baggies, who cemented their place of fifth in the table

“When you’re on a booking, you can’t ask for another yellow,” said Wagner, whose side lost their five-match unbeaten run as a result.

“Everyone knows this – this rule has not been since yesterday and this rule exists all over the world.

“So it’s something you can’t do, especially if you’ve been booked and this is why – even if it’s a harsh decision – it was the correct decision and there is no one to blame but Borja himself.

“I have to speak with him and I will do, for sure, but officially and not in public.

“If he takes what’s right out of this situation – and I’ll make sure he takes what’s right – it will be another step in his progression.

“We’ll support him but it’s my job to speak about the truth as well.”

Wagner stopped short of saying the dismissal cost Norwich the game, but it made for a change of plan at half-time.

“On one side, yes it changed the game and cost us the game, but on the other side, it doesn’t mean that you are automatically not without an chance,” he added.

“I said at half-time: ‘Is it difficult? Yes, super difficult. Is it possible? It is, so let’s go for it’.”

West Brom wasted chances galore before Thomas-Asante’s winner, with John Swift missing six openings, including hitting the post and missing a kick in front of goal.

But Norwich could have snatched an equaliser but for goalkeeper Alex Palmer keeping out substitute Ui-Jo Hwang’s shot in the 77th minute.

West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan felt his side were on top, regardless of the sending off.

“The result was fair, from the way the game was going against 11 players and the way it went when we were against 10,” he said.

“I know the group wanted to take responsibility when they think something hasn’t gone well and we never want to make excuses.”

Thomas-Asante has now eclipsed his Albion tally of seven goals last season and Corberan felt the striker was back to his best.

“I wanted to see a reaction from the previous game because in the last game, I didn’t see his real level,” he added. “Today I saw him competing much better.

“I think sometimes – depending on the context of the game – it switches towards the advantages of one player.

“He’s not good at every single thing, but the important thing for him is to know what type of striker he is and play with the maximum mentality that he needs to play with.”

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