Rare Salomon Rondon goal sends West Brom through to round four of the FA Cup
Published 19/01/2016 | 21:51
Salomon Rondon's first FA Cup goal saw West Brom past Bristol City in their third round replay at Ashton Gate.
Rondon settled the tie 1-0 in Albion's favour with only his fourth goal for the Baggies since completing a £12million move from Zenit St Petersburg last August.
The Venezuelan had not scored since the end of October, but he lived up to his hefty price tag with a delightful 52nd-minute finish after stealing between City defenders Aden Flint and Derrick Williams to control Craig Dawson's cross.
Tony Pulis' Barclays Premier League side were well worth the victory and might feel a decent cup run is on the agenda with Sky Bet League One Peterborough their fourth-round visitors to The Hawthorns.
City had changed manager since the first game with John Pemberton in caretaker charge following the dismissal of Steve Cotterill, but the Robins rarely threatened until a few risks were taken in the final quarter.
Albion boss Pulis named a strong side even though he was without injured pair Darren Fletcher and James Morrison, the latter's stoppage-time equaliser in the first game having secured this replay.
But it was the absence of Saido Berahino from the matchday squad which raised eyebrows with the out-of-favour striker reportedly attracting interest from Chelsea and Newcastle.
Albion shaded a first half short on creativity but failed to work City's teenage goalkeeper Max O'Leary, who was making his first senior start with Frank Fielding sidelined by a rib injury.
James McClean, Victor Anichebe and Rondon were all guilty of failing to hit the target, while Craig Gardner whistled one past the post when executing impressive technique to meet a dropping ball at the edge of the area.
Although they were often second best, Luke Freeman drilled a shot straight at Ben Foster in the Albion goal and City fashioned the best chance of the first period when a precise four-man move opened up the visitors.
Freeman and Scott Wagstaff were both involved before Bobby Reid sent Wes Burns scampering through on goal.
But Burns, the hero on Saturday when his injury time winner sunk Championship leaders Middlesbrough, could not find the net this time as his shot fired across Foster fell wide.
Albion should have been ahead three minutes before the break when Gardner, again lurking on the edge of the box, struck his volley into the ground.
The ball fell kindly for Gareth McAuley but the unmarked defender sent his header over from six yards.
Albion, however, were ahead soon after the restart when Rondon took a neat touch to control on his chest and then finish into the corner past O'Leary.
City probed for an equaliser with Aaron Wilbraham heading over and Burns' angled drive pushed wide by Foster.
But they lacked the guile to break down organised opponents who took their place in round four.