West Brom vs Wolves FA Cup tie delayed by fan disorder

  • FA Cup fourth round Black Country derby kicked off at 11:45 GMT
  • Wolves took a 2-0 lead in the 78th minute
  • The visitors' second goal sparked fighting in the crowd which delayed the game for almost half an hour
Fans had to be told to return to their seats during the Black Country derby
Fans had to be told to return to their seats during the Black Country derby / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Sunday's Black Country derby between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup fourth round has resumed following a 38-minute delay during the second half after fighting broke out in the stands.

The fierce local rivals last shared the same division during the lockdown season of 2020/21, when fans were barred from stadiums due to COVID-19 protocols. It's been more than a decade since spectators were able to watch the two clubs go head-to-head.

The travelling Wolves support enjoyed the opening 78 minutes of Sunday's contest far more than their hosts. Pedro Neto fired the Premier League visitors in front in the 38th minute before Matheus Cunha doubled their lead after the break.

Cunha's goal seems to have sparked the outburst which eventually forced both sets of players to retreat to their respective dressing rooms. The match had been given an early 11:45 GMT kick off to reduce hostility as much as possible but reports suggest a huge brawl broke out in at least two different sections of the crowd after Cunha's strike. BBC correspondent Simon Stone also revealed that "missiles were thrown from into and out of the visitors' section".

West Bromwich Albion v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round
Stewards and local police were called into action on Sunday / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

The referee delayed the restart for three to four minutes in the hope that the conflict would conclude before the Wolves squad headed down the tunnel shortly before 13:30 GMT. West Brom's players followed their rivals soon after just as a member of the crowd evaded stewards to make it onto the pitch.

Baggies defender Kyle Bartley was one of several home players who made a beeline for the family section of the stands, personally escorting his children and partner into the safety of the stadium's underbelly as the fighting failed to cease.

The giant screen inside the Hawthorns implored fans to "please return to your seats. Entering the field of play is a criminal offence."

It took at least 20 minutes for the scrapping to subside but the game could not be restarted until the medical staff present had treated every injured member of the crowd. One fan was removed with blood streaming from their head.

Both sets of players reemerged from the tunnel at around 13:50, almost 25 minutes after Cunha's goal.

The game eventually restarted with 77 minutes and ten seconds on the match clock shortly before 14:00 GMT with West Brom's kick off.