Benteke spot on to cap Villa fightback in derby thriller
Aston Villa 4 West Brom 3
After starving their home crowd of joy for much of the season, Villa repaid at least part of the deficit by winning a West Midlands derby as exciting as many would have witnessed.
Six goals made turning out on a dreadful night worthwhile even before half-time, after Albion had gone two goals in front only to have their efforts overturned.
A penalty, won and converted by Christian Benteke 19 minutes into the second half, provided Villa with only a third home win of the season.
Barely four minutes had passed when Chris Brunt put Albion ahead, collecting Liam Ridgewell's pass on the left with a first touch that teed the ball up perfectly for his left foot to let fly with a delicious dipping shot into the top right-hand corner.
Within five minutes, they were 2-0 up when Fabian Delph's attempt to block James Morrison's drive from the left diverted the ball past Brad Guzan into the Villa net.
But with no let-up in the ferocious pace, Villa had pulled one goal back by the 12th minute, through Andreas Weimann.
Villa drew level on 24 minutes when Leandro Bacuna, despite Steven Reid's attempted block, managed to turn Matt Lowton's low cross in, and went ahead after 37, Delph slamming the ball home off the bar after Benteke's flick-on.
Albion fought back, Youssouf Mulumbu poking the ball through Guzan's legs to conclude a breathless half with the sixth goal.
After the break Diego Lugano gave away the penalty from which Villa went back in front, leaning into Benteke as they waited for Bacuna's high ball.
Bent picked himself up to score from the spot and settle a thrilling evening. (© Independent News Service)