A poor tackle by Kieran Richardson midway through the first half helped give Albion a free three points at the Hawthornes in a high charged game.
Villa did itself no favours by feeling self-pity by being a man down and some awful manoevres or lack of them by Lambert who was thoroughly out coached by under pressure Alan Irvine.
The early running went to Villa who was patient on the ball and a lot more confident. Albion used a high pressure tactic to get possession back, but showed little patience in the Villa half and created little to nothing, while Villa’s patience gave Villa the same lack of reward up front.
Richardson looked to spark Villa with a run with the ball, but Albion always had a player crashing in when a Villan ran away from a player and when Richardson over-ran the ball he needlessly went over the top of Sessegnon.
Villa absorbed the rest of the half comfortably as both managers plotted the course of the second half. Lambert tipped his hand on 43 minutes by going over instructions with Delph with N’Zogbia the obvious choice to be subbed.
True to expectations the switch was made and with Delph running his crop circles Villa enjoyed a five minute spell. Irvine, meanwhile changed the course of the game. Sticking a defender close to Agbonlahor he allowed Wisdom to camp out in Villa’s half and moved Sessegnon inside to occupy Clark.
After 10 minutes, Delph’s fire burned out and without N’Zogbia forward to overload Albion at the back, Lescott was now comfortable and the midfield took a foothold in the game.
22 minutes left and Irvine used his second tactical decision, risking exposing his midfield and bringing on Berahino for the disappointing Dorrans. The risk was calculated that Villa was too used to defending and tiring.
Within 2 minutes the exciting striker had caused havoc in Villa’s defence and a cross was missed by Guzan and after a scramble it had to be former Villa player and fan and former Blues player and fan and former Sunderland player and fan and now Albion fan, GARDNER who scored as jinxed by Villamad’s own Bongo who called him crap before the game.
Lambert’s failure to react to the brave ten’s distress was compounded with a bizarre substitution with Vlaar and Weimann coming on for Cissokho and Sanchez. It added no help to the midfield and Clark just shifted to left back.
To make matters worse Weimann couldn’t do anything right as his trapping was a nightmare. Albion backed off and Benteke wasted two golden opportunities, but at the end of the day Albion deserved the win just because it has skillful players that can take players on, pass and trap and Villa don’t.