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Aston Villa Beat West Brom to Advance to 2019 Championship Play-off Final

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2019

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Tammy Abraham of Aston Villa goes between Kyle Bartley and Chris Brunt of West Bromwich Albion during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off semi final second leg match between West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa at The Hawthorns on May 14, 2019 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images )
David Rogers/Getty Images

Aston Villa defeated 10-man West Bromwich Albion 4-3 on penalties to advance to the EFL Championship play-off final on Tuesday.

The second leg of the semi-final ended 1-0 to West Brom and 2-2 on aggregate, triggering extra time and penalties with the away-goal rule not in use in the Championship play-offs.

During a frantic contest in the West Midlands, the home side took the lead against the run of play in the 29th minute through Craig Dawson.

The 29-year-old sent the West Brom fans into rapture as his header levelled the aggregate score.

Sky Sports Football shared Dawson's magic moment:

Sky Sports Football @SkyFootball

"The goal they craved has arrived" Craig Dawson guides #WBA back level in the tie against #AVFC 📺 Watch the @SkyBetChamp play-off semi-final second leg live on Sky Sports Football: https://t.co/QIOZ4d0LBD https://t.co/MVrbot7P0Z

Villa continued to dominate possession but West Brom had the wind in their sails as they looked for a second.

The hosts had the better of the best attacking moments in the first half. However, there was a lack of quality in front of goal as they failed to work Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer.

Broadcaster and Villa supporter Stan Collymore gave his thoughts at half-time:

Stan Collymore @StanCollymore

HT 1-0 Albion industrial but determined and always a physical threat at set pieces. Villa good posession but why have 1 or 2 touches in the final third when you can have 22. A shot or two would be nice. #UTV

Jack Grealish's influence was increasingly present in the second half and Villa appeared the more cultured unit as they controlled the flow of traffic.

The West Brom crowd was muted with 10 minutes to play as their side was reduced to 10 men. Chris Brunt made a rash tackle on John McGinn and the referee produced a second yellow for the midfielder.

Sky Sports Football @SkyFootball

Red card for Brunt 🔴 Already on a booking, Chris Brunt makes a silly challenge and edges the advantage back to #AVFC. 📺 Watch the @SkyBetChamp play-off semi-final second leg live on Sky Sports Football: https://t.co/QIOZ4d0LBD https://t.co/s3kE59lHL0

Baggies hearts were in their mouths in the final minutes, and it was left to West Brom keeper Sam Johnstone to make a miraculous point-blank save from Albert Adomah with three minutes remaining.

McGinn twice had opportunities to settle the tie late in the match but the Scotland international fluffed his chances to be the hero before the final whistle.

Extra time saw Villa remain purposeful in possession but Johnstone was a significant barrier as the home side's defence stayed firm.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - MAY 14:  Jed Steer of Aston Villa celebrates as he saves a penalty from Mason Holgate of West Bromwich Albion in the shoot out during the Sky Bet Championship Play-off semi final second leg match between West Bromwich Albion and A
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The contest stayed level, taking the tie to penalties, and it was the Villa who booked a spot in the final at Wembley on May 27.

Steer saved Mason Holgate's opening penalty to give Villa the advantage and the stopper repeated the feat as he kept out Ahmed Hegazi's effort.

Villa's superior technique was clear as they found the net, and the away side completed the 4-3 victory, despite Adomah blasting over the bar.

Tammy Abraham slotted home the winning spot-kick to send his team to the showpiece final.

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