Jeremy Sarmiento's goal was his just his second since joining West Brom on loan from Brighton
West Brom moved up to third in the Championship as Jeremy Sarmiento's fabulous second-half strike proved the difference at Cardiff City.
Sarmiento came closest to scoring in a goalless first half with a shot that hit the post after a swift counter-attack from the visitors.
The Ecuadorian attacking midfielder, on loan from Brighton, then put the Baggies ahead with a fine whipped effort which dipped and curled into the far corner.
Cardiff struggled to create many genuine chances as they searched for an equaliser and were limited to long-range shots from Josh Bowler and Rubin Colwill.
West Brom's win closes the gap on Ipswich Town in the second automatic promotion spot to seven points, but Kieran McKenna's men will have a chance to restore their advantage at home to Millwall on Wednesday.
As for Cardiff, defeat sees them slip to eighth in the table, three points adrift of the play-off places.
They had briefly climbed into the top six on Saturday with a dramatic late comeback win at Preston - but lasted only a couple of hours there as West Brom ended Ipswich's 12-match unbeaten run at the Hawthorns.
As disappointed as Erol Bulut and his players will be to lose this game, being in their current position still represents a huge improvement on the previous two seasons and Cardiff's successive battles against relegation.
For West Brom, meanwhile, six points from their two tricky matches suggests Carlos Corberan's side are in promising form as the promotion race intensifies with the looming festive fixture pile-up.
This game had the makings of intriguing encounter as seventh met fifth in the Welsh capital and, despite starting at a lively pace, it lost some of its momentum when the visitors were dealt an early setback as captain Jed Wallace was forced off with what looked like a shoulder injury.
West Brom still posed a threat, however, and they came close to taking the lead after half an hour when Grady Diangana led a rapid counter-attack from a Cardiff corner and found Sarmiento, whose shot rolled off the post.
Cardiff had a chance of their own soon afterwards as Bowler weaved between opposition defenders before seeing his shot smothered by Alex Palmer.
From that point, neither side managed to create any clear-cut opportunities but, fortunately for West Brom, Sarmiento only needed half an opening and it came in the 50th minute.
After darting down the left wing, the Ecuador international cut on to his right foot and, from an unfavourable angle, lashed a shot which arced over Cardiff goalkeeper Alex Runarsson and into the far corner.
West Brom should have doubled their lead after 76 minutes but substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante headed over from close range.
Cardiff pressed for an equaliser in the closing stages but, other than speculative long-range efforts from Colwill, Bowler and Manolis Siopis, they did not really trouble the Baggies.
Cardiff manager Erol Bulut:
"West Brom are one of the best-organised teams defensively. We tried hard but the lucky side were West Brom with the lucky shot.
"There were not many chances on either side. Apart from that shot, it was a typical game for a draw.
"We watched it (the goal) back and our goalkeeping coach said it was a really good shot with the curve. We should have not allowed the shot.
"We tried but offensively we should create more. The way how we play and approach the game, we try our best. We don't put our heads down."
West Brom manager Carlos Corberan:
"It was the total opposite to the Ipswich win. The result tonight was the consequence of the team fighting with maturity.
"In the first half it was difficult for us to impose our style. It didn't help us to create chances but we didn't concede many chances.
"We didn't get frustrated and fixed the details in the second half. We started to attack more, put the ball out wide and find our wingers.
"We had to finish the game with a lot of defensive spirit to get the three points."
- Line-upsMatch StatsLive Text
- 13RÃºnarsson2RomeoSubstituted forPanzoat 56'minutes4Goutas5McGuinness38Ng23Siopis8RallsSubstituted forWintleat 56'minutes14BowlerBooked at 87mins47RobinsonSubstituted forColwillat 65'minutes32TannerSubstituted forEteteat 75'minutes22MÃ©Ã¯tÃ©Substituted forUgboat 56'minutes
- 24Palmer2FurlongBooked at 88mins5BartleyBooked at 90mins4KiprÃ©3Townsend35YokusluSubstituted forMolumbyat 74'minutes27Mowatt7J WallaceSubstituted forThomas-Asanteat 21'minutes11DianganaSubstituted forFellowsat 65'minutes17SarmientoSubstituted forPhillipsat 65'minutes19SwiftSubstituted forMajaat 74'minutes
- 6Ajayi8Molumby9Maja10Phillips14Chalobah21Thomas-Asante26Ãvila GordÃ³n31Fellows33Griffiths
Referee:Josh SmithAttendance:18,248Match StatsHome TeamCardiffAway TeamWest BromPossessionHome44%Away56%ShotsHome11Away8Shots on TargetHome1Away1CornersHome6Away3FoulsHome7Away9Live Text Post update
Match ends, Cardiff City 0, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Second Half ends, Cardiff City 0, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Attempt missed. Manolis Siopis (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner following a corner.
Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Conor Townsend.
Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by CÃ©dric KiprÃ©.
Attempt blocked. Kion Etete (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Rubin Colwill.
Attempt missed. Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Manolis Siopis.
Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion).
Kion Etete (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Jayson Molumby (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Hand ball by Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion).
Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card.
Josh Bowler (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Darnell Furlong (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Matt Phillips with a cross following a corner.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Manolis Siopis.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Rubin Colwill.
Corner, West Bromwich Albion. Conceded by Mark McGuinness.
Attempt missed. Josh Bowler (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Mark McGuinness with a headed pass following a corner.
Attempt blocked. Rubin Colwill (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ryan Wintle.
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