A 73rd-minute own-goal from Coventry's Muhamed Konjic lifted Gary Megson's promotion-chasing West Brom into fourth place in the First Division.
The Bosnian defender headed the ball into his own net as, under pressure from Daniele Dichio, he tried to clear a dangerous right-wing cross from Albion captain Derek McInnes.
Konjic's blunder was a harsh blow for Coventry, who until that moment had held the edge and created the best scoring chances. West Brom manager Gary Megson admitted as much afterwards: "We battled and we scrapped. It was not our best performance by any means," he said, "but the important thing is we won."
"It was a fantastic goal from our point of view," Megson added. "It was a great cross from Derek on the right and Danny Dichio made a great move into the middle."
City striker Lee Hughes worked desperately hard to mark his return to West Brom with a goal and he was twice denied inside the first nine minutes by two fine saves from Russell Hoult.
Hughes, who grabbed 78 goals in 158 appearances for Albion, took just 27 seconds to threaten Hoult for the first time, firing in a rising angled drive that the goalkeeper instinctively beat away.
Then, in the ninth minute, Hughes – continually taunted by the home fans following his £5m move to Coventry in the summer – latched on to a pass from Lee Mills and produced another shot that Hoult did well to get a hand to.
The only threat to the City goal in a one-sided opening 45 minutes came when Dichio set up Scott Dobie but the young striker completely missed the ball with only veteran Andy Goram to beat.
After the break, City continued to dominate and David Thompson fired in a free-kick from 25 yards, only to be denied by the diving Hoult.
West Brom (3-5-2): Hoult; Gilchrist, Moore, Sigurdsson; Adam Chambers, McInnes, Jordao (Johnson, 66), Balis, Clement; Dichio, Dobie (Taylor, 90). Substitutes not used: Adamson, Fox, Cummings.
Coventry City (4-4-2): Goram; Edworthy, Konjic, Shaw, Hall; Fowler, Thompson (Joachim, 84), Delorge, O'Neill (Guerrero, 78); Mills, Hughes. Substitutes not used: Hydlgaard, Quinn, Davenport.
Referee: M Jones (Leeds).Reuse content