That game featured several members of the Aston Villa 1982 European Cup winning side including Peter Withe, Gary Shaw and Dennis Mortimer, whilst a surprising figure starting in the Albion back-four, Ken McNaught who was part of the prestigious 1982 European Cup winning side.
Attendees at Villa Park last night were treated to one of the most atmospheric and nerve-racking games at Villa Park, since the 6-4 Carling Cup semi-final victory over Blackburn in 2009, but on the flip-side some truly shocking moments of defensive lapses as well.
A penalty from the rejuvenated Christian Benteke, who has now scored in his last three games, proved the catalyst for Villa fans to claim local bragging rights for this season. “Pride of the Midlands” bellowed from the Holte End at the sound of the final whistle.
New Albion boss Pepe Mel, in charge of only second game, saw his selection and tactical choose of a high defensive-line, like from his time at Real Betis backfire, with in particular Diego Lugano probably having the worst game of his career. The Uruguayan international who will face England this year in Brazil, conceded the match-winning penalty and was exposed several times by the re-energised front duo of Christian Benteke and Andi Weimann.
The last 13 encounters between the two fierce local rivals have finished in either a draw or a 2-1 victory and fans of both sides could be forgiven to think it might happen again when a repeat of what happened earlier in the season at the Hawthorns occurred.
Under the magnificent floodlights of Villa Park, the expectant and vibrant Holte End were silenced within 11 minutes. Chris Brunt unleashed a magnificence half-volley from 30 yards into Brad Guzan's right hand corner before Matthew Lowton's lack of focus allowed a cross from the ring-wing to be turned inadvertently into his own net by Fabian Delph who are trying to clear the danger.
2-0 to the visitors, the only noise in the stadium was of the away fans enjoying themselves in the lower Doug Ellis stand, boing boing boing.
Ex- West Brom striker Shane Long had been Villa's tormentor back in November on freezing Monday night at the Hawthorns, but this time around it only took Villa 24 minutes to get back on level terms. Andi Weimann took advantage, despite being in an off-side position, of a flick-on from Diego Lugano to sublimely lift the ball over the advancing Ben Foster then Matthew Lowton's tame cross was bizarrely turned into the empty net by Leandro Bacuna via his arm to level matters.
England World Cup hopeful Fabian Delph hadn't scored in the League for Villa before this season due to a string of injuries, before a long-range effort against Southampton proved to be the winning goal in smash and grab 3-2 away victory, but that finish was overshadowed by the strike on Wednesday evening.
He turned right-back Steven Reid inside out with a slick touch before blasting the ball from the edge of the area with such ferocity, it was recorded as 72 mph, past Ben Foster who never stood a chance.
But the strike, that could easily be named goal of the season, proved in vain. Benteke missed a guilt-edge chance when one-on-one with Foster, then no more than five minutes later the inevitably happened, Youssouf Mulumbu levelled the scores at 3-3 after calmly tucked the ball through Brad Guzan's legs.
The second half couldn't produce the same entertainment from the first half but still had fans jumping up and down from their seats. In the end a calmly struck penalty from Christian Benteke was enough to secure three points and send Villa into 10th position eight points clear of the relegation zone. West Brom remain in the relegation dog-fight in 15th, three points off the drop zone.
The victory was the first in five attempts against the Baggies, two defeats and two draws. The gap between the sides is now five places and five points.