Championship leaders Burnley came from behind to beat West Bromwich Albion at Turf Moor as Vincent Kompany’s Clarets cemented their hold on top spot.
After being stung by Darnell Furlong’s controversial early first-half opener, Burnley trailed at the break.
But top scorer Nathan Tella raced clear to level with his 10th goal of the season before injury-hit summer signing Scott Twine stepped up to curl in a deserved late winner and condemn Carlos Corberan to only his third defeat in 12 games as Baggies boss.
An eighth league win in a row saw Burnley move 19 points clear of Watford, in third, and an immediate return to the Premier League seems inevitable.
Albion took a seventh-minute lead when John Swift swung the ball in from the right, and Furlong appeared to get away with a shove in the back on home defender Charlie Taylor to head in from close range – only the Albion defender’s second goal of the season.
Burnley had opportunities to level before the break, chiefly when Ashley Barnes’ run to the left byeline ended with the ball being touched into the post and wide.
Then Barnes might have done better when he hammered a left-foot shot against the bar.
But Burnley were most frustrated by two unanswered penalty shouts – and they then really stepped up the pace in their search for a deserved equaliser after the break.
With former Albion striker Jay Rodriguez coming off the bench to provide an extra physical and aerial threat, it seemed inevitable that the equaliser would come.
But Albion defended well – and it took until the 75th minute to level when Anass Zaroury’s long ball down the inside right channel sent Tella clear – and he fired a powerful angled right-foot shot beyond Alex Palmer.
When these two sides had met at The Hawthorns in September, Albion had dominated, yet still needed an equaliser deep into injury time to earn a 1-1 draw – but there was to be no repeat.
And instead this time it was Burnley who came up with the late strike when Josh Cullen was brought down by Jed Wallace right on the edge of the box.
Twine, who had only been on the pitch for four minutes, took responsibility. And the £4m man from Milton Keynes Dons, who is still to start a game for Burnley, threaded a right-foot beauty up over the wall into Palmer’s unguarded top right corner.
Both sides now face FA Cup fourth-round ties next weekend. Burnley are at League One side Ipswich on Saturday, when Albion go to Bristol City.
They then both return to league action the following weekend when the Baggies host Midlands rivals Coventry City on Friday, 3 February before Burnley go to Norwich the following day.
Burnley boss Vincent Kompany told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“I’ve been close to many successful players and many successful teams but this feels very special. This feels different. I don’t know how to explain it.
“They have left me a bit speechless, which means there are not a lot of words. I should say I’m not surprised but, in a game of such high standards, I am surprised, even though there have been so many things we have already seen from them this season.
“It’s about character almost as much as quality. And they’ve earned it. There is a group dynamic and an energy that they bring every single day.”
West Bromwich Albion head coach Carlos Corberan told BBC Radio WM:
“We should have done more to attack them second half. But they had a lot of the ball which made it difficult to press.
“The first goal changed everything. At that moment we still had possibilities to take something.
“Matt Phillips is going to take more time than we expected with his injury. At least six weeks and the maximum will be 12 weeks.”
- 29MaatsenBooked at 90mins
- 26BastienSubstituted forManuelat 63′minutesSubstituted forda Silvaat 89′minutes
- 23TellaSubstituted forTwineat 83′minutes
- 10BarnesSubstituted forRodríguezat 63′minutes
- 22da Silva
- 28Al Dakhil
- 2FurlongBooked at 42mins
- 14MolumbySubstituted forGrantat 89′minutes
- 11DianganaSubstituted forReachat 83′minutes
- 17J Wallace
- 19SwiftSubstituted forRogicat 67′minutes
- Jarred Gillett
Match ends, Burnley 2, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Second Half ends, Burnley 2, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Ian Maatsen (Burnley) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Ian Maatsen (Burnley).
Jed Wallace (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Charlie Taylor (Burnley) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Daryl Dike (West Bromwich Albion).
Offside, Burnley. Ian Maatsen tries a through ball, but Jay Rodríguez is caught offside.
Foul by Vitinho (Burnley).
Conor Townsend (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Karlan Grant replaces Jayson Molumby.
Substitution, Burnley. Vitinho replaces Benson Manuel because of an injury.
Goal! Burnley 2, West Bromwich Albion 1. Scott Twine (Burnley) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the top left corner.
Josh Cullen (Burnley) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Jed Wallace (West Bromwich Albion).
Attempt blocked. Charlie Taylor (Burnley) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Jordan Beyer.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Darnell Furlong.
Corner, Burnley. Conceded by Dara O’Shea.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Adam Reach replaces Grady Diangana.
Substitution, Burnley. Scott Twine replaces Nathan Tella.