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Black Country Derby: Fan trouble temporarily postpones fierce FA Cup clash

While the term ‘Black Country derby' can be used to refer to any match played between Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion and Walsall, West Brom vs Wolves is by far and away the most anticipated instalment of the fixture.

In that sense, we were always going to be in for a treat when the pair battled it out in the FA Cup fourth-round, a fixture which had been three years in the making.

Wolves fans travelled in their numbers to make a cauldron-like atmosphere at the Hawthorns in this Sunday lunchtime kickoff but no one could have anticipated what was going to happen next.


Black Country Derby: Match temporarily abandoned after fan trouble

After a feisty encounter on the pitch, the match was temporarily abandoned in the 78th minute after Matheus Cunha made it 2-0 to Wolves due to crowd trouble. In the Birmingham Road End, the opposite end to the away end, several Wolves fans reportedly jumped up and celebrated when Cunha made it 2-0 which caused a mass brawl to break out.

Very quickly, the trouble spilled over onto the pitch as stewards struggled to contain the issue which resulted in police officers running down the touchline to intercept the trouble. The match was stopped immediately and some players made their way over to the corner where the trouble started to try and help. However, shortly after, fans from all corners of the stadium made their way onto the pitch to make matters worse.

According to reporters at the stadium, a ball boy was struck with a missile that was thrown in the direct of Matt Doherty while West Brom defender, Kyle Bartley, made his way into the stands to get his children off the pitch to safety. Shortly after, the players were taken off the pitch but that wasn't the end of the issue.

A West Brom fan decided to make his way over to the Wolves away end with a West Brom scarf aloft while several supporters were stretchered off the pitch with blood pouring from their heads. Just before 2 pm, the match restarted and the final portion of the match was played.

Black Country Derby: West Brom vs Wolves

Black country derby 1
Wolves' 3-2 victory against Brentford in the FA Cup third roudn confirmed the upcoming Black Country derby / Photo by Express & Star

A history of the Black Country derby

The Black Country derby has an extremely rich and long history, with the first official meeting between West Brom and Wolves occurring in 1886 – an FA Cup clash which ended in a 3-2 victory for Albion.

As a result, this fixture is one of the oldest local derbies in world football, but it wasn't until 20 years later, with the derby regularly attracting crowds of over 20,000, that the rivalry between the two fan bases became more intense.

It arguably reached its peak halfway through the 20th century, with the 1950s being a clear golden age for the derby. Throughout this decade, both clubs were forces in the top division of English football, regularly competing against each other for silverware.

In fact, in the 1953-54 campaign, for the first and only time in history, the pair finished in the top two spots of England's top division, with Wolves finishing four points above their West Midlands counterparts.

Since then, the two sides have fluctuated between divisions, but the rivalry between the pair has been ever-present and is still incredibly fierce to this day.

Recent meetings

With Wolves in the Premier League and West Brom in the Championship, this fixture has not been contested in nearly three years, with the last instalment taking place at The Hawthorns and ending in a 1-1 draw in the Premier League. The reverse fixture in the same season ended in a 3-2 victory for the Baggies, away at the Molineux.

Prior to those two meetings, fans of the two clubs had endured a nine-year spell in which there were zero meetings between the pair. Although, with West Brom emerging victorious in both meetings preceding those nine years, Wolves fans likely weren't too unhappy about it.

In fact, in recent times, West Brom have largely dominated this derby, winning six out of their last 10 meetings, compared to just one for Wolves.

Harry Dowsett

Freelance football writer with experience writing for multiple digital platforms, such as GIVEMESPORT. Recently graduated from Portsmouth University with a media studies degree - completing a dissertation on the evolution of sports journalism in the process. He has a love for Arsenal Football Club and a passion for football as a whole.

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