Disgraceful scenes marred the FA Cup fourth-round tie between West Brom and Wolves as the game was stopped for 34 minutes after fighting erupted close to the area in the stands reserved for the players’ families, while missiles were also thrown by both sets of supporters following the visitors’ second goal at The Hawthorns.

In the first match between the two sides in front of fans since 2012, Matheus Cunha’s 78th-minute effort sealed victory for Wolves, who had taken a first-half lead through Pedro Neto.

But the tension in the stands that had been simmering from before kick-off spilled over. Missiles were thrown into and from the visitors’ section and before play could resume, fighting began at the other end of the field, leading led to both teams leaving the field.

As stewards and police attempted to restore order, West Brom skipper Kyle Bartley was spotted emerging from that area of the ground with a child in his arms.

Another supporter was escorted out of a home area with blood streaming down his face as medical staff tried to stem a wound to the top of his head. A further fan was taken out of the stadium on a stretcher, although he appeared to be in good spirits.

Fans were told to return to their seats on numerous occasions and respective managers Carlos Corberan and Gary O’Neil were both seen talking to stadium officials and police representatives before the teams returned.

Wolves held their opponents at bay for the remaining 12 minutes to take their place in the last 16, although that was of secondary consequence on a day that brought back scenes many thought had disappeared from the English game and seem sure to bring a heavy punishment from the Football Association.

Kyle Bartley carries a child away from fan trouble at the Hawthorns
The match was paused for 34 minutes, after trouble broke out among fans following Matheus Cunha’s second-half finish

Trouble brewing all game

After waiting almost 12 years to witness this particular local derby in person, the respective sets of fans were ready to make a racket from well before kick-off.

With the teams back in the dressing room after the warm-up, West Brom’s distinctive ‘Boiler Man’ mascot was virtually alone on the pitch when he came to the Wolves’ supporters’ attentions. Their reaction was not positive, which was in line with much of the chanting as the players came out and the game began.

Wolves defender Craig Dawson continued to be booed every time he touched the ball deep into the contest even though he gave the Baggies eight years’ excellent service and remained with the club for a year after their relegation from the top flight in 2018.

Neto’s goal was accompanied by two bright orange flares being thrown from the stand housing the 4,000-strong visiting contingent. Heads turning in the main stand indicated a Wolves presence that shouldn’t have been there as security scurried to sort the situation out.

Water bottles thrown at Wolves midfielder Tommy Doyle as he went to take a second-half corner did not reflect well on the home supporters responsible.

Yet this, as needless as it was, hardly merited attention compared to what followed Cunha’s goal.

Even as police tried to bring order to the situation, extra stewards were called into the affected areas and the stadium announcer appealed for supporters to return to their seats, the ferocious chanting continued.

Thankfully, once the game finally restarted, no supporters came on to the field at the final whistle.

Wolves end long wait for West Brom win

Wolves’ victory was significant in the sense it was their first against West Brom in the FA Cup since 1949 and their first at the Hawthorns since 1996.

Although West Brom have dominated matches between these two teams, the infrequency of recent meetings has coincided with a huge swing in fortune.

While Wolves’ Chinese ownership has delivered European football, renewed commitment and, through manager Gary O’Neil, virtual Premier League safety and financial stability, West Brom’s future is less certain.

They borrowed more money from lenders MSD in November and given they are no longer in receipt of parachute payments, face an uncertain future if want-out owner Guochuan Lai cannot find a buyer.

Skipper Jed Wallace is one of their most saleable assets and it was the 29-year-old that Alex Mowatt was trying to find with the corner that led to Wolves’ opener.

Wallace had dropped deep for the pre-planned set-piece, but Matt Doherty read it, intercepted and set Neto free.

The Portugal star wasn’t smooth in his approach to the Baggies box but he eventually got enough control to send a low shot beyond Josh Griffiths.

Cunha’s goal was also a breakaway, although by then the energy had gone out of West Brom’s play.

Brandon Thomas-Asante wasted their best opportunity to equalise, blazing over from the edge of the area. Thomas-Asante and Wallace both also had early headers saved by Jose Sa before Neto had broken the deadlock.

West Brom are left to pursue their play-off push and Wolves can dream of doing to Wembley. But there was nothing uplifting about this horrible occasion.

Wolves fans, what did you make of the match?

Visit our dedicated West Brom page.

Player of the match

Pedro NetoPedro Neto

West Bromwich Albion

  1. Squad number31Player nameFellows

  2. Squad number15Player namePieters

  3. Squad number33Player nameGriffiths

  4. Squad number36Player nameTaylor

  5. Squad number2Player nameFurlong

  6. Squad number7Player nameJ Wallace

  7. Squad number35Player nameYokuslu

  8. Squad number26Player namePipa

  9. Squad number21Player nameThomas-Asante

  10. Squad number19Player nameSwift

  11. Squad number3Player nameTownsend

  12. Squad number27Player nameMowatt

  13. Squad number4Player nameKipré

  14. Squad number5Player nameBartley

  15. Squad number14Player nameChalobah

Wolverhampton Wanderers

  1. Squad number7Player namePedro Neto

  2. Squad number12Player nameMatheus Cunha

  3. Squad number15Player nameDawson

  4. Squad number23Player nameKilman

  5. Squad number20Player nameDoyle

  6. Squad number1Player nameJosé Sá

  7. Squad number2Player nameDoherty

  8. Squad number24Player nameToti

  9. Squad number5Player nameLemina

  10. Squad number22Player nameNélson Semedo

  11. Squad number27Player nameBellegarde

  12. Squad number3Player nameAït-Nouri

  13. Squad number62Player nameChirewa

Line-ups

West Brom

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 33Griffiths
  • 2Furlong
  • 5BartleyBooked at 72minsSubstituted forTaylorat 78′minutes
  • 4KipréSubstituted forPietersat 78′minutes
  • 3TownsendSubstituted forÁvila Gordónat 78′minutes
  • 35Yokuslu
  • 7J WallaceBooked at 54mins
  • 14ChalobahSubstituted forFellowsat 67′minutes
  • 27Mowatt
  • 19Swift
  • 21Thomas-Asante

Substitutes

  • 15Pieters
  • 24Palmer
  • 26Ávila Gordón
  • 31Fellows
  • 32Malcolm
  • 36Taylor
  • 37Whitwell
  • 43Hall
  • 47Heard

Wolves

Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 1
  • 23Kilman
  • 15Dawson
  • 24Gomes
  • 22Nélson Semedo
  • 5Lemina
  • 20Doyle
  • 2Doherty
  • 7NetoSubstituted forChirewaat 78′minutes
  • 12Matheus Cunha
  • 27BellegardeSubstituted forAït-Nouriat 70′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Aït-Nouri
  • 4Bueno
  • 17Bueno
  • 25Bentley
  • 32Hodge
  • 40King
  • 42Griffiths
  • 62Chirewa
  • 63Fraser

Referee:
Thomas Bramall

Attendance:
25,013

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