COCA-COLA CHAMPIONSHIP: West Bromwich Albion 1 Leicester City 4
One tackle can change everything. Arsenal's Eduardo discovered that after Martin Taylor's mistimed tackle three weeks ago left the Croatian facing at least nine months out of the game, and while Luke Moore's lunge on Leicester City's Richard Stearman fortunately did not have a physical impact on the Foxes defender, it had massive ramifications for Tony Mowbray's West Bromwich Albion.
Albion's promotion push has certainly begun to stutter in recent weeks but they were expected to roll over a Leicester side that had slipped into the relegation places in midweek and is starring League One firmly in the face.
And when Robert Koren's deflected shot found the back of the visitors' net after just 22nd minutes, it looked as if the expected victory was on the cards until Moore, making his full home debut after arriving from Aston Villa, lunged two-footed on Stearman in the 35th minute.
Referee Darren Deadman theatrically thrust the red card into the air after racing over to Moore as Stearman lay clutching his leg in pain, and as he trudged down the tunnel, Albion's hopes of a comfortable victory disappeared into the dark with the 22-year-old.
While it was not a malicious tackle, it was a reckless and unnecessary one. Stearman was in his own half and on the touchline, and while it is understandable that Moore was eager to impress in front of the Albion fans, in the current climate of red card mania it was inevitable that any two footed lunge would be punished with the now-obligatory sending off.
Manager Tony Mowbray refused to condemn his young striker for the match-turning incident. "It is modern day football and there are sendings off most weekends," he said. "It looked like he went chasing the ball and he left the ground. I don't want to defend him or criticise him.
"I wouldn't expect him to apologise. Luke is a young player trying to impress his new club. He hasn't been sent off before in his career and players do get sent off, it happens.
"It obviously affected us and we have to forget about it now. It has gone and we move onto the next game. We had got our noses in front and who knows what would have happened if it had remained 11 v 11."
Albion were in control until that point but once Moore was dismissed, everything went drastically wrong for the hosts.
Leicester hadn't won a game after falling a goal behind all season but they dispatched that hoodoo in emphatic fashion and blaming the sending off for the final scoreline does not give the battling visitors the credit they deserve.
The sending off certainly was not a factor in the Foxes' equaliser three minutes later as Albion fell to sleep from a corner and Joe Mattock's looping cross was emphatically met by Gareth McAuley.
Because of what was at stake for both sides, the game had more needle than a Chinese acupuncturist, and eventual hat-trick hero Steven Howard set the tone with a poor challenge on Leon Barnet after just 11 minutes which risked a more severe punishment than the resulting yellow card.
Paul Robinson, who accounts for both of Albion's other two sendings off this season, was booked for a rash challenge on Mattock and then the ever-popular Lee Hendrie also had his name taken after going head-to-head with the Albion left back.
Earlier, Do-Hoen Kim was booked for a late challenge on the battered and bruised Mattock.
Going down to ten men can galvanise some teams and it can have a minimal impact on more direct sides.
However, for a team like West Brom, whose passing game is reliant on every player being
available, a one-man handicap can have a devastating affect, and so it proved.
Hendrie answered the Birmingham Road boo-boys by winning the 58th-minute penalty, following a Jonathan Greening challenge, that gave Howard his first goal, and then the former Derby County striker finished off a sweeping move involving Matt Oakley and Hendrie.
Things got worse for Mowbray, who was already without the trio of Chris Brunt, James Morrison and Filipe Teixeira through injury, when Barnett limped off with a suspected hamstring strain and Albion played out the final ten minutes with just nine men.
Leicester exploited their two-man advantage when Barry Hayles played the ball through the now threadbare Albion defence for Howard to complete his hat-trick.
Scorers: Koren (22) 1-0; McAuley (38) 1-1; Howard (59) 1-2; Howard (79) 1-3; Howard (86) 1-4.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-4-2): Kiely; Martis, Barnett, Albrechtsen, Robinson; Gera (Pele, 62), Koren, Greening, Kim (MacDonald, 62); Bednar (Phillips, 69), Moore. Subs: Miller; Danek.
LEICESTER CITY (4-4-2): Henderson; Kisnorbo, N'Gotty, McAuley, Fryatt; Stearman, Mattock, Hayles, Oakley (Wesolowski 83); Hendrie (Etuhu 88), Howard (Hume 83). Subs: Chambers; Campbell.
Referee: Darren Deadman (Cambridgeshire).
Bookings: Albion - Kim , Robinson (both fouls); Leicester - Howard (foul), Hendrie (unsportsmanlike conduct), Hayles , Oakley (both fouls).
Sending-off: Albion - Moore (serious foul play).