Leicester returned to the top of the Championship with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion and two more victories from their remaining three games would secure promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

Enzo Maresca’s side could go up on Tuesday if they beat Southampton at the King Power Stadium.

Jamie Vardy’s 15th league goal of the season effectively sealed the victory and made up for him missing a penalty in the first half.

Leicester took the lead through Wilfred Ndidi in the 22nd minute after Albion had dominated the early stages and missed a string of chances to take the lead.

West Brom manager Carlos Corberan will wonder how his side managed to squander so many oppportunities to score, and their second successive defeat means their play-off place is by no means certain.

They did eventually find the net through their captain, Jed Wallace, with 14 minutes left, but could not force an equaliser.

Leicester’s win owes much to central midfielder Hamza Choudhury who made three goal-line clearances – two of them coming within seconds of one another.

But with both teams recording a combined total of almost 30 shots, the game was partly a tale of the opportunities that were squandered.

West Brom could have had the match won inside the first 20 minutes. With Maresca’s team playing out from the back, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall passed the ball straight to Okay Yukuslu, but he put his hurried shot over the bar.

Mikey Johnston was then involved on three occasions, seeing an effort cleared off the line after 14 minutes. He then had a shot saved by Leicester keeper Mads Hermansen before putting another chance over the bar.

Leicester made Albion pay for their wastefulness in front of goal by taking the lead. Stephy Mavididi pulled the ball back for defender Wout Faes who crossed for Vardy. His header was kept out by Albion goalkeeper Alex Palmer but Ndidi converted the rebound from close range.

Maresca’s side looked set to take a two-goal advantage into the break. Vardy ran on to a long ball from Hermansen a minute before half-time and was pushed over by West Brom defender Conor Townsend in the 18 yard box. Vardy had scored four penalties from four this season, but he hit the post from his fifth spot kick of the campaign.

Choudhury then cleared off the line twice in the space of a few seconds after 51 minutes. First, he blocked a shot from Yann M’Vila and then denied Grady Diangana. The drama continued as, from the resulting corner, Kyle Bartley headed against the bar with Diangana unable to get the vital touch from close range.

Again, Albion were punished for missing their chances as Vardy increased Leicester’s lead after 65 minutes. Choudhury found Abdul Fatawu on the right and his cross was met by Vardy who headed in from close range.

West Brom finally found the net when defender Cedric Kipre’s inch-perfect pass found Wallace who slid the ball past Hermansen.

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 extended their unbeaten Sky Bet Championship run to six matches as they signed off before the final international break of the season with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Bristol City.

Tom Fellows netted his fifth goal of the year to fire Albion in front in the final minute of the first half, before Jed Wallace doubled the lead in the 50th minute when he routinely tapped in Conor Townsend’s cross.

Carlos Corberan’s team – without Andreas Weimann, who was ineligible to face his parent club – did not initially settle as well as City.

Cedric Kipre had to be alert to clear his lines after Tommy Conway produced a dangerous centre and West Brom were grateful that Mark Sykes did not do better with the rebound.

Mikey Johnston, who joined Albion on loan from Celtic in January, has six goals in as many league starts and he threatened to add to that tally shortly after the quarter-hour mark when he eased away from yellow shirts and bent a strike from the edge of the area just past Max O’Leary’s far post.

The Robins’ best opportunity of the opening half came when Anis Mehmeti flicked on a Haydon Roberts hooked clearance and Conway was sent racing clear with Okay Yokuslu for company. The forward shot low but Alex Palmer in the West Brom goal was equal to the effort.

Just as it appeared as though the first half would end goalless, Albion nosed themselves in front.

Winger Johnston again caused problems when cutting in from the left, teeing up Yokuslu, who in turn found Fellows on his right. The winger struck a powerful shot through a crowded area and it beat O’Leary at his near post.

The lead was doubled within five minutes of the restart, with the influential Johnston involved again. He fed left-back Townsend, who picked out the unmarked Wallace and the captain rolled the ball home to give Albion a cushion.

From there, Corberan’s outfit, fresh from scoring four at Huddersfield last Sunday, went immediately in search of more.

Yokuslu drove a first-time effort just past the post after O’Leary had denied Johnston and in the final 20 minutes the City goalkeeper was forced into action again when he denied Fellows, who found space on the right hand side.

City boss Liam Manning made a triple substitution which included the introduction of centre-forward Harry Cornick, who posed more of a challenge for opposing centre-halves Kipre and Kyle Bartley.

However, the Robins were wayward when Ross McCrorie and then Sykes were presented with openings, before Gardner-Hickman stung Palmer’s gloves.

The visitors could not find a breakthrough and Albion further cemented their place in the play-off places with three points and 16th clean sheet of the season.

Carlos Corberan recognised the significance of West Brom’s win over Coventry as they moved seven points clear of the play-off chasing pack.

Mikey Johnston’s stunning strike handed Albion an early lead before Grady Diangana put them two up at the break.

Coventry came back and Haji Wright halved the deficit from the spot but despite late pressure Albion held out for a key three points to stretch their to-six cushion ahead of Saturday’s fixtures.

Baggies boss Corberan said: “An important result, it was important to win today.

“We were dominant in the first half, we found solutions to break the press and we controlled the ball in the middle of the pitch, without having too many opportunities.

“But the opportunities we had we finished them with a lot of accuracy.

“I knew the second half was going to be a challenge because they were aggressive in the middle in the first half and we lost the ball, and we needed to avoid that in the second half, it would be one of the keys of the game.

“Little by little we started to lose control of the ball and control of the game. They found options to be more in our (half) than the way we wanted to play.

“In the penalty they achieved an action in one minute when there was a lot of time to play.

“We then rediscovered control of the game when we changed to play with a five.

“We know that every game is going to be key with the value of every game being the same with three points.”

Sky Blues boss Mark Robins said his side’s first-half display was a “nothing performance”.

He said: “I think in the first half we were too passive. We couldn’t get out and gave them too much of the ball and they are a quality team, let’s face it.

“They’re in the play-offs for a reason, they have a strong squad with players who have know-how and little bits of nous, good quality and confidence.

“We did have three good chances in the first half but in the second we were more aggressive, the mindset changed.

“We didn’t move well enough, it was a nothing performance in the first half.

“In the second it was much, much better, we managed to get hold of the ball, got back in it with the penalty, and we had enough time to get back in the game but we conceded two poor goals.

“We had bodies in there for Johnston’s goal and Diangana ghosts in too easily.

“And we didn’t lay a glove on them in the first half – but Ben (Wilson) hasn’t had a save to make.

“Then late on we didn’t have a calmness.”

Carlos Corberan highlighted West Brom’s defensive resilience after fifth-placed West Brom secured a 1-1 draw at fellow promotion chasers Hull.

The Baggies looked up against it after 35 minutes when Fabio Carvalho scored an elite goal from distance that swerved into the top-left corner.

But Corberan’s men responded manfully and equalised after 43 minutes after Darnell Furlong’s header off Jed Wallace’s corner looped over Ryan Allsop.

Corberan said: “A point was the fair result for what both teams created on the pitch.

“We both had similar types of chances and a similar number of chances.

“When you don’t win the game, it’s important not to lose.

“I think that the quality of players Hull has right now made it difficult for us and we needed to concentrate in defence to get something.

“Our defence was key to getting something out of the game, but we need to improve in two key parts: don’t concede possession and create chances.”

Sixth-placed Hull had won their last three games and would have moved above West Brom in the table with victory.

But, perhaps surprisingly, the visitors were quicker into their stride and struck the crossbar after 20 minutes through Jed Wallace.

Carvalho’s dipping opener, which did goalkeeper Alex Palmer for pace and zip, therefore came as a shock to Corberan.

But the Baggies retained a healthy tempo before the restart and equalised when Furlong evaded his marker and powerfully headed home.

Both sides struck a post after the restart, but Corberan conceded that a draw was a fair result.

He said: “We tried to be aggressive and to stop them playing from the back and we did that well.

“We had some good possibilities that could have given us something else (more goals), but they had a big chance in the second half, too.

“It was important not to lose, but it was also important that the players gave everything.

“They have a lot of quality players, and Carvalho showed the danger that he has.

“In open play we were fantastic, but we still need to increase our levels of concentration.

“We are going to work even harder, keep improving and increasing the details.

“This year the competition for the play-off positions is going to be very tight. I think there are four very strong teams that have made a gap, but the key for me is to keep going and to keep improving.”

Counterpart Liam Rosenior was unhappy by the manner in which West Brom scored and challenged his players to become more streetwise in key moments.

He said: “I just want to win every game that we play, but if you can’t win, don’t lose – it doesn’t matter at what stage of the season.

“We put ourselves in a strong position against a really organised team, but these games are about fine margins.

“We are a young team but with two minutes before half-time we should have kicked the ball out into touch – and then we conceded a corner.

“That period between Fabio’s goal and their goal, we were in control of the game, but in football it is about managing moments and we didn’t do that, which was frustrating.

“We just need to learn from the mistakes, but I can’t fault players in terms of engagement, energy levels and commitment.

“If that continues, I think we’re in a really strong position.”

Rosenior added: “I love the expectation, but we have to remember where we came from.

“It’s a process, and we’re not going to get it right every week.

“We just need to keep moving in the right direction and stay calm.

“We’re in are really good spot. We need to stay consistent, stay calm and ignore the noise.

“We’ll keep playing the way we believe – this could be a really good point for us.”

West Brom remain one place above Hull in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs following their disciplined 1-1 draw at the MKM Stadium.

Liam Rosenior’s in-form side had looked on course to move up to fifth in the table when Fabio Carvalho scored a lovely swerving goal from distance after 35 minutes.

But the visitors, who are next week expected to be taken over by Floridian businessman Shilen Patel, deservedly equalised before the break through Darnell Furlong’s downwards header.

Neither side had the artillery to force a winner – though Rosenior and West Brom manager Carlos Corberan might both be happy with a point as both sides struck a post late on.

A subdued start, during which both teams failed to find their offensive rhythm, saw West Brom perhaps looking the slightly more controlled side but continually giving away possession in promising areas of the pitch.

That was until the 20th minute when Tom Fellows hared down Hull’s right channel before sending a low cross towards Jed Wallace. His instinctive strike hit the crossbar, with Alex Mowatt’s attempt from the rebound pawed to safety by goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.

Hull, who had won their last three games, finally stepped up a gear four minutes later.

Anass Zaroury cut inside from the left and let rip with a fierce long-range hit that was well stopped by goalkeeper Alex Palmer.

Carvalho was similarly positioned for the opening goal, but the Liverpool loan signing’s dipping strike was far more emphatic. Palmer might have done better at his near post, but West Brom were also guilty of failing to react to Zaroury’s quick corner.

Baggies fans might have feared the worst as their side had not won when conceding first in the Championship this season.

But hope soon reasserted itself in the away end when Furlong equalised after 43 minutes.

Jaden Philogene was too slow to adjust to the zip of Wallace’s corner, with Furlong’s header thumping into the turf, over Allsop’s head and into the left corner.

The start to the second half mirrored that of the first, with neither Hull nor West Brom doing enough to force to the issue.

Rosenior’s men saw more of the ball as the game wore on but well-drilled opponents were rarely flustered until Philogene slinked into a central position after 79 minutes.

The influential winger’s screwed hit from 18 yards had Palmer beaten, but the ball hit the base of the right post and Carvalho wastefully fired the rebound over.

West Brom also hit the woodwork two minutes later when Adam Reach’s well-directed effort struck the inside of the left post after substitute Regan Slater had given the ball away in an awful area. Mikey Johnston followed up from the right but Allsop saved his scuffed effort with his right boot.

The clast chance disappeared with Albion substitute Andi Weimann’s feeble chip straight at Allsop, ensuring a share of the spoils.

West Brom boss Carlos Corberan praised his Championship play-off chasing side for their patience as they claimed a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Plymouth.

Cedric Kipre broke the deadlock in the 61st minute and goals followed from substitute Mikey Johnston – with a brilliant 76th minute solo effort – and Tom Fellows, who scored a stoppage-time clincher.

Corberan said: “We had to be patient because at half-time we were 0-0. At half-time I wanted them to keep doing the things we did well and tried correcting the things we did not do well.

“I think in the second half we created a lot of chances. We were positive and created a lot of chances and it’s always positive to get goals.

“I said before the game, coming here and winning the game was going to be hard because only Leeds have won here since October. I think before Leeds won here at the weekend, Plymouth had not lost for nine league games here.”

The result saw the Baggies strengthened their hold on fifth place as they bounced back from defeat at promotion contenders Southampton on Friday.

Corberan was pleased with his side’s efforts but warned that Coventry and Norwich, who both sit just four points behind in seventh and eighth respectively, were hot on their heels.

He added: “When you don’t have a specific number nine, it’s important to score goals from different areas of the pitch.

“The important thing is to create chances – clearcut chances – and we did that.

“I think we have attacking players that can create chances and score goals from all over.

“Four points above seventh place tonight is nothing because we know how difficult staying in the play-off positions is going to be.

“From the play-off positions to 10th, we are one of the teams that are going to compete. The team that finds consistency will get a play-off place. You need a strong mentality to win every game.”

Plymouth head coach Ian Foster would not criticise his side after the defeat due to the busy fixture schedule.

He said: “We are disappointed because we have lost a game but I can’t be critical of the players.

“I know that sounds strange after a 3-0 home defeat but it’s our third game in six days.

“We have to give credit to the opposition. They are an excellent side and they showed that tonight.

“We dug in and kept them at bay for as long as we could. We have to take our medicine. They are one of the best sides in the Championship.

“We didn’t have our normal energy. We were guilty of tired passes. We found it really difficult in the second half.

“We have to stick together now, rest and plan accordingly for a massive game on Saturday (at Middlesbrough).

“We asked them for more, but they couldn’t give us more. They had empty tanks.

“We have to dust ourselves down now and go again.

“No one wants to pay money and see us be dismantled the way we were.

“There’s no excuses. We knew the run of games we were coming into and we plan our best for them because we have to respect the opposition.”

Carlos Corberan hailed the impact of West Brom’s January recruitment drive as two new signings scored in his side’s 2-0 victory over Cardiff.

Winger Mikey Johnston, who arrived in the window on loan from Celtic, opened the scoring after just 30 seconds before Bristol City loanee Andreas Weimann emerged from the bench to secure the points in the 80th minute.

West Brom’s fifth win on the spin on home soil was significantly influenced by the new recruits, who have turned the heat up on Corberan’s pre-existing attacking options in competing for places – but that is something the Spaniard now relishes when selecting his team.

“It’s necessary to have these options,” Corberan said. “It’s something key, because if you don’t rotate the players, at the end you have more injuries.

“For us, as a club, it was necessary for us to add more attacking options, because we needed to increase the options we had. Right now, we’re using the players, because it’s necessary to have that impact from the bench.

“Our players now know that we have now good options. They believe in the team-mates they have. Our attacking players know that if they’re not at 100 per cent, we have others who will be. They understand it’s a strength we have and must use.

“It can never be a problem, to have two or three players competing in every position – now we have those alternatives.”

West Brom effectively began the match a goal ahead when Tom Fellows crossed for fellow winger Johnston, who stroked the ball home after just 30 seconds.

Cardiff tried to draw level prior to half-time, but Josh Wilson-Esbrand did not sufficiently worry Alex Palmer with his shot from distance.

Palmer would have been concerned, though, when Kion Etete met Aaron Ramsey’s header at the back post, and West Brom were thankful when the centre forward skewed his attempt over the bar from close range.

With it went the visitors’ most significant opening of the evening, and they were punished shortly afterwards when Jed Wallace collected a through-ball on the right and fired a cross in for Weimann to turn home.

For Cardiff manager Erol Bulut, there was only regret that his side did not take their one significant opportunity to equalise when the chance came their way.

“It’s difficult when you concede a goal in the first minute against West Brom, who are at home, with quality players,” he said.

“It’s not easy but we pushed really hard, especially in the second half, we had chances to score and make it 1-1, with Kion and with Ramsey.

“If you don’t score, it’s normal that at the end they get the second one, because we were pushing to get the second one.

“Opponents, when they get those chances they are scoring and we are not scoring. This is the difference. We have the chances, but we are not scoring.”

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 boss Carlos Corberan saluted the returning Daryl Dike after the striker ended his eight-month injury nightmare.

The United States international, out since April with a serious Achilles injury, scored as the Baggies cruised past Aldershot 4-1 in the FA Cup third round.

First-half goals from Nathaniel Chalobah Jovan Malcolm also made it a Sunday stroll for the hosts before Tom Fellows’ late fourth and Ollie Bray’s consolation.

It was a perfect comeback for Dike as he looks to finally shake off the injury issues which have restricted him to just 28 appearances in two years.

A hamstring injury on his full debut in January 2022 sidelined him for six months and a thigh problem at the start of last season kept the 23-year-old out for three months.

Corberan said: “The way he celebrated the goal says many things about how much he has been suffering, how important it was to score, how important he is for us in the the dressing room.

“Afterwards, the players gave him a big round of applause. They were celebrating he has come back with the group and scored the goal because eight months out, managing the injury, is difficult especially for him after suffering injuries.

“To come back was an important step for us. It’s a massive step. We need to keep working on his adaptation to football again, hopefully we can keep growing in the process.

“To achieve something in the Championship you need to not have a lot of injuries. To have Dike as striker is always a positive.”

There was never any suggestion of a third-round upset as the Baggies raced into a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes.

Chalobah hooked in Fellows’ cross after seven minutes before Malcolm seized on Cian Harries’ slip to add a second.

Dike got his goal after 27 minutes, taking advantage of more sloppy defending, to fire in from 10 yards and wrap the game up before half time.

The second half was a procession, with Kyle Bartley lobbing onto the roof of the net from halfway and Fenton Heard shooting over.

Aldershot offered little in response although Lorent Tolaj tested Josh Griffiths from distance.

Layton Love blazed over after being sent clean through but Fellows added a fourth with two minutes left when he cut inside and fired in off the post.

Bray netted a consolation in the fifth minute of injury time to leave boss Tommy Widdrington proud.

He said: “It was a nice way to end, our fans were on the up. We shot ourselves in the foot for two goals, standing on the ball at one stage and then missing a corner and it hitting someone in the face.

“They had a lot of the ball in the first half but didn’t have a lot of efforts. I thought we showed them a bit too much respect in the first half.

“I’ve got no qualms about the result they are a class act and Carlos is a top person.”

Leeds’ hopes of automatic promotion from the Championship suffered another blow as they were beaten 1-0 by West Brom at the Hawthorns.

Grady Diangana’s 37th-minute goal was enough to give former Leeds coach Carlos Corberan back-to-back home wins and inflict a second consecutive loss on Daniel Farke’s side, who have won one of their last five games and trail second-placed Ipswich by nine points.

And they did little to suggest they could come back from Diangana’s fifth goal of the season as they failed to test West Brom goalkeeper Alex Palmer.

But they were perhaps unfortunate not to win a 30th-minute penalty for Cedric Kipre’s challenge on Wilfried Gnonto.

Leeds settled quicker and had the ball in the net in the 16th minute when Sam Byram swept home Joel Piroe’s cross on the volley, but the full-back had strayed a yard offside.

West Brom were denied the opening goal in the 23rd minute with their first serious attack.

Djed Spence cleared Kipre’s low volley off the line from Alex Mowatt’s corner before Okay Yokuslu lifted the loose ball over the bar.

Yokuslu then had some defending to do as he blocked Gnonto’s shot at the other end.

Leeds were denied what could have been a spot-kick – with Italy forward Gnonto was at the centre of the action.

Ethan Ampadu chipped the ball forward and Gnonto was on to it in a flash only for Kipre to grab him around the waist. The 20-year-old fell to the ground as he shaped to shoot, but referee Graham Scott waved play on.

West Brom punished the visitors by taking the lead in the 37th minute.

Spotting the intelligent run of Jed Wallace, Yokuslu split the defence for the Baggies captain to slide the ball across goal, and although Diangana’s first shot was blocked by Joe Rodon, his second attempt flew into the net.

West Brom started the second half brighter but they had a let-off from a free-kick when Rodon glanced a header well over the crossbar with Palmer committing himself but failing to make contact.

Leeds wasted a half chance when Gnonto ballooned a loose ball high and wide from 25 yards after Spence’s cross was blocked.

Within seconds Spence’s replacement Jaidon Anthony had the chance to equalise but he could not keep his effort down.

Yokuslu was in the right place again defensively when he nodded away Crysencio Summerville’s curling shot.

The Baggies went close to a second goal when John Swift picked out the run of fellow substitute Adam Reach, whose attempted lob forced a falling save from Leeds goalkeeper Karl Darlow.

West Brom got back to winning ways with two second-half strikes proving to be the difference in a 2-0 triumph at Rotherham.

The Baggies had suffered back-to-back defeats heading into this game but Grady Diangana’s deflected strike and Jed Wallace’s perfect free-kick ensured a very welcome three points for Carlos Corberan’s side.

Rotherham welcomed new head coach Leam Richardson but they remain winless since October – a nine-game streak which has seen them drop to the foot of the Championship.

The first chance of the game fell the way of the visitors, with a low corner from Alex Mowatt finding its way through to Darnell Furlong who poked wide at the near post.

Rotherham’s first opening came through the recalled Jordan Hugill but his floated header from Ollie Rathbone’s free-kick was easily gathered by Alex Palmer.

That was as good as it got for the remainder of the half as West Brom kept the ball well but did very little with it.

The visitors finally showed some adventure early in the second half with a mazy dribble from skipper Conor Townsend leading to a cross to Jayson Molumby, but he miscued his volley off target.

They went in front on 54 minutes when a cross from Molumby was cleared hastily by Dexter Lembikisa and only as far as Diangana, whose low effort took a deflection to wrong-foot keeper Viktor Johansson.

Rotherham tried to respond quickly but Arvin Appiah lashed way off target after finding space around the edge of the box.

The visitors almost fashioned another chance through a succession of Furlong’s long throws and then substitute Wallace whipped in a dangerous cross which had to be cleared to safety.

Richardson looked to his bench with the hopes of mustering a chance for a leveller in the closing stages.

The Millers’ record signing Sam Nombe joined Hugill up front but it was Hakeem Odoffin who almost got on the end of a whipped cross from the right wing.

Rathbone also delivered a dangerous ball from a free-kick and it was almost met by Nombe’s head before it drifted out to safety at the back post.

West Brom made sure of the points in the 90th minute with Wallace curling in an inch-perfect free-kick from the edge of the box.

Tom Eaves looked to grab a consolation for Rotherham in added time but his header from Lembikisa’s cross was blocked by former Miller Semi Ajayi.

Carlos Corberan praised West Brom’s “maturity” as a hard-fought 1-0 win at Cardiff lifted them to third place in the Sky Bet Championship.

Jeremy Sarmiento’s stunning second-half strike gave Albion a fifth win in six games and seven from their last 10.

“It was total opposite win,” boss Corberan said comparing Albion’s success in the Welsh capital to their free-flowing victory over second-placed Ipswich on Saturday.

“This result was the consequence of the team competing with maturity when we couldn’t find the football we wanted to create.

“The first half was very difficult to impose our style, we couldn’t find more than four or five passes because we couldn’t link enough.

“It was very important for me not to be frustrated but to fix details.

“We improved the possession in the second half and had the ball in better positions.

“We had to show defensive spirit in the second half to secure the three points.”

Sarmiento has had a slow start to his Baggies spell after joining on a season-long loan from Brighton in July.

The 21-year-old former England youth international, who played for Ecuador at the 2022 World Cup, has been troubled by a quad injury and this was only his second league start.

On Sarmiento’s wonder strike five minutes after the break, cutting on to his right foot and curling home from 20 yards, Corberan said: “Maybe I didn’t expect him to shoot from there.

“He has the quality and he was very positive, but it was not easy from the angle that he had.

“It’s important for Jeremy to have the minutes because the injury has stopped him having the continuity he needs to have.

“We know he is a young player with a lot of talent and he needs to keep building his level. The more he improves the better it is for the team.”

Cardiff manager Erol Bulut was angry his side were not given a late penalty for handball, saying in a post-match radio interview that “this league needs VAR for sure”.

Bulut said: “I didn’t mention anything about referees because I respect them and I think they need to respect Cardiff more.

“This was a penalty and we will report it. I don’t want to speak but they are pushing me. They are costing me many points. I don’t want to report it.”

Bulut absolved on-loan Arsenal goalkeeper Alex Runarsson, who was making only his third league start for the Bluebirds, of blame for Sarmiento’s winner.

He said: “We watched it and I spoke with the goalkeeper coach (Mario Galinovic) and he said he couldn’t catch the ball.

“I have to see it, but if the goalkeeper coach says this, it’s a really good shot.

“We don’t have to allow that shot. But we should push the opponent to the line.”

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