West Bromwich Albion 4 Bristol City 1
It is advantage West Bromwich Albion after they swept aside Bristol City to go back to the top of the Championship.
Albion scored four second-half goals to lift them over Watford at the division's summit.
Roman Bednar opened the scoring for the home side before a Robert Koren stunner and two goals by Kevin Phillips extended Albion's goal difference over the rest of the division.
Darren Byfield grabbed a late consolation but anything other than a victory for Albion would have been unsatisfactory following their dominant performance, not least a first half in which the home side could have led by several goals long before Bednar's opener.
Albion were back to a four-man midfield, two-man forward line in front of the best turn-out of supporters of a non-local visiting side this season.
City were almost rewarded in the third minute when Lee Trundle's angled snap shot — after Albion had failed to clear their ranks following a free kick — was only parried by Dean Kiely. The Albion keeper's blushes were spared by Bostjan Cesar, who whipped the ball away and out of danger.
Zoltan Gera caused another anxious moment for the City backline when his stinging 10th-minute outswinging cross was tipped clear by keeper Adriano Basso, as Phillips and James Morrison lurked with menace at the back post.
The Hungarian midfield maestro tried his luck again four minutes later with a strong shot which had no shortage of sting but failed to trouble Basso.
The Bristol No 1 was called into action moments later when Albion again broke quickly. This time it was Phillips using his initiative but his high shot was parried away by Basso and desperately scrambled clear.
City drove forward again and were unfortunate not to rewarded in the 21st minute when Marvin Elliott's bicycle kick fell at the perfect height for Kiely to produce his own moment of acrobatics.
Phillips drove his shot in the side-netting within seconds and his strike partner Bednar went even closer in the 28th minute. The Czech striker turned in Morrison's cross and almost slipped past the unsuspecting Basso after striking the woodwork.
Albion were entitled to feel hard done by following some poor refereeing by Martin Atkinson in the 42nd minute. Gera threaded in a low pass for Bednar. As the Albion striker chased the ball he was tripped by Liam Fontaine. Despite the City man clearly being the final defender, the Yorkshire official handed him a yellow card despite a clear goal-scoring opportunity being denied by his foul.
On 48 minutes Bednar put the home side ahead. Peeling away from his marker, he turned in Hoefkens' low cross, giving Basso no chance.
Lee Trundle was unfortunate not to level when his low shot flew past Kiely but carried on beyond the Albion keeper's far post. Phillips had a similar shot at the other end in the 58th minute, which squirmed agonisingly wide after Bradley Orr and Jamie McCombe made a mess of what should have otherwise been a regulation defensive clearance. Phillips raced past them but dragged his 20-yard shot wide of Basso's left-hand post.
Koren ensured victory in the 68th minute. Picking up Gera's pass, the Slovenia international drove a long-range right-footed shot into the roof of the net, helped on by Basso's head.
Just for good measure, Phillips made sure of Albion's return to the Championship summit in the 72nd minute when he exploited Basso and McCombe's dithering and raced on to the ball, turning it into an empty net from 20 yards.
Three minutes later Bristol City's nightmare was complete. Morrison timed his run perfectly to run on to Gera's pass. The ex-Middlesbrough man turned his pass into Phillips' path, allowing the 34-year-old to smash a low shot underneat Basso. Byfield grabbed a late consolation following a mix-up in Albion's penalty area.
Albion manager Tony Mowbray said: "I think we got our just rewards. We created enough chances to have scored a few goals. We got a grip on the game and it was a case of keeping things going in the second half. We did and the goals started to come. We were playing a good team in City."
Scorers: Bednar (48) 1-0, Koren (67) 2-0, Phillips (72) 3-0, Phillips (75) 4-0, Byfield (87) 4-1.
ALBION (4-4-2): Kiely; Hoefkens, Cesar, Pele, Robinson; Gera, Koren, Greening, Morrison (Beattie, 80); Phillips (Albrechtsen, 86), Bednar (Miller, 71). Substitutes: Steele, Barnett.
BRISTOL CITY (4-4-2): Basso; Orr, Fontaine, McCombe, McAllister; McIndoe (Noble, 80), Johnson, Elliott, Sproule (Skuse, 80); Showunmi (Byfield, 53), Trundle. Substitutes: Vasko, Weale.
Referee: Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire).
Bookings: Bristol City — McIndoe, Fontaine (both fouls).
Albion man of the match: Zoltan Gera — goal-making passes by the skilful midfielder.