However, the home side were indebted to an inspired display by their England under-21 goalkeeper, Richard Wright, who kept them in the game in the first half. He was particularly severe on Lee Hughes, Albion's prolific striker, who might have had a hat-trick.
Benny Lennartson, Bristol City's new Swedish director of football, was given an all-too vivid illustration of the extent of the job in hand when he saw them thrashed 5-0 by Bradford City at Valley Parade.
Lee Mills put the home side ahead after seven minutes, Louis Carey's own goal doubled the host's first-half lead. In the second half, Isiah Rankin, Peter Beagrie and Robbie Blake completed the rout.
Four clubs rooted at the bottom of the division at the start of play were pitted against each other and Swindon Town took full advantage, beating Queen's Park Rangers, who had Paul Murray sent off, 3-1 at the County Ground to move out of the danger area. Colin Little equalised three minutes from the end of Crewe's 1-1 draw at Oxford United.
If those strugglers want inspiration they need only look a few places higher up the table where Tranmere Rovers now reside in comparative safety. A 1-1 draw with Stockport County at Prenton Park, snatched from the jaws of defeat, was their fifth game without defeat.
Brett Angell had put County ahead with three minutes remaining but Scott Taylor equalised a minute later. Still the excitement was not over. Seconds before the final whistle the Rovers defender John McGreal and Alan Moore, on loan to County from Middlesbrough, were sent off for violent conduct.
Port Vale, whose winger Gareth Ainsworth may move to Wimbledon of the Premiership early this week, came back from 2-0 down at home to Sheffield United but Dean Saunders' late goal gave the Blades the points; Ashley Ward was Barnsley's hero and villain at Wolves. His 52nd-minute penalty salvaged a point but he was sent off four minutes later.
Crystal Palace went one better. They had Craig Moore and Fan Zhiyi sent off as they lost 2-0 at Grimsby Town.Reuse content