Curtis Davies silenced the West Brom boo boys before visiting goalkeeper Scott Carson made an expensive mistake as Aston Villa climbed above Manchester United into third spot in the Barclays Premier League.
Former West Brom captain Davies was the subject of abuse every time he touched the ball as the fall-out continued from his move from the Hawthorns in August 2007.
But he had the last laugh by scoring, and then an own-goal blunder from Carson - who was on loan at Villa last season - added to the visitors' misery.
West Brom could only manage a consolation effort from James Morrison, which came shortly after half-time.
Villa are now unbeaten in nine league games, from which they have taken 21 points, and there is a momentum about the team which suggests they could clinch a Champions League spot.
Again they failed to fire on all cylinders but have acquired the knack of grinding out victories in such circumstances.
Ashley Young again was a constant threat on the left flank with his pace and trickery while Stiliyan Petrov and Steve Sidwell impressed in central midfield.
Albion remain anchored at the bottom of the table but they were far from disgraced despite being unable to end their 30-year run without a league win at Villa Park.
They enjoyed a fair share of possession and the introduction of striker Roman Bednar at half-time gave them more of a cutting edge up front.
Morrison also produced another excellent display before limping out of the action midway through the second period.
Villa manager Martin O'Neill was boosted by the return of captain Martin Laursen, Luke Young, Gareth Barry and Gabriel Agbonlahor who all missed the FA Cup win at Gillingham through injury or suspension.
West Brom boss Tony Mowbray handed a first start to striker Jay Simpson who is on loan from Arsenal for the remainder of the season.
Albion were the sharper side in the opening exchanges and Brad Friedel was called into action to deal with a left-footed drive from midfielder Robert Koren.
It was against the run of play when Villa went ahead after 18 minutes through Davies.
Sidwell had two headers cleared off the line following a corner from Barry, with James Morrison and Jonathan Greening saving Albion.
But, when Barry delivered the ball into the danger area for the third time, no-one
picked up Davies who headed past Carson - a Villa team-mate of his last season.
Davies trotted back to the halfway line after showing only the slightest of celebrations at breaking the deadlock.
The home side were now in the ascendancy and Ashley Young's curling shot from the edge of the Villa box was only just off target with Carson at full stretch.
James Milner was becoming an increasing influence and one low cross from the club's record signing picked out Sidwell who would have been disappointed to sidefoot his shot just wide.
And after 41 minutes some dreadful defensive play by the visitors led to Villa doubling their lead.
Barry slipped the ball into the path of England striker Agbonlahor on the left flank and he must have been surprised at the lack of a challenge as he cut into the box.
But then Carson allowed Agbonlahor's shot from a narrow angle to deflect off him, squirm under his body and roll over the line. The shot had been going wide, across the face of goal.
Mowbray made a half-time substitution, replacing Moore with six-goal leading scorer Bednar.
Within four minutes Bednar had made a telling impact in setting up a goal for Morrison.
Greening curled the ball into the box and Bednar headed back to Morrison who had time to steady himself before drilling a fierce shot, which took a slight deflection, past Friedel.
Villa retaliated and Carson partially atoned for his error by making a superb reflex save to turn aside a volley from Sidwell after being teed up by Ashley Young.
The goalkeeper also clung to a drive from Ashley Young after the Villa danger man had cut into the box.
Bednar's presence certainly had livened up the visitors and Friedel held a powerful attempt from the former Hearts player.
Morrison needed treatment to his leg after being accidentally injured in a challenge by Ashley Young but was unable to continue and replaced by Chris Brunt.
Laursen became the first player to be booked after 74 minutes for a foul on Simpson after he had turned sharply.
Agbonlahor could have sealed the game in the closing seconds but drilled his shot across the face of goal.