(Reuters) - West Bromwich Albion beat Hull City 4-2 in a thrilling encounter in the second-tier Championship at the Hawthorns on Sunday to close the gap on league leaders Leeds United to a point.
Leeds, who defeated Blackburn Rovers 3-1 away on Saturday, are top of the table with 78 points while West Brom’s win moved them up to 77 with five games left.
Slaven Bilic’s Albion side were made to work by Hull and had to take the lead three times before sealing victory while defeat left the visitors hovering a point above the relegation zone.
West Brom’s Charlie Austin celebrated his 31st birthday in style by chesting down a cross and thumping the ball home in the fourth minute before Kevin Stewart equalised 20 minutes later from a corner after goalkeeper Sam Johnstone failed to clear.
Home defender Ahmed Hegazi made it 2-1 before the break when he powered a header home from a corner for his first goal in nearly two years.
Hull got back on level terms through Mallik Wilks three minutes into the second half but West Brom took the lead again a minute later when Kamil Grosicki scored against his former club and did not celebrate.
Substitute Grady Diangana then put on his dancing shoes to leave two defenders for dead before squeezing a shot past goalkeeper George Long from the edge of the area to make it 4-2 and give West Brom some breathing space.
But the hosts were dealt a blow when they lost Hegazi to a second yellow card for a foul on Wilks in stoppage time. The centre back will miss Wednesday’s game at home to Derby County.
Earlier, Swansea City beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 to keep their hopes of finishing in the playoff spots alive with Rhian Brewster and Andre Ayew scoring second-half goals.
They are now eighth in the standings with 60 points, four behind sixth-placed fellow Welsh club Cardiff City.
A delightful first-half lob from Queens Park Rangers’ Jordan Hugill secured a 1-0 win at third-bottom Middlesbrough, who have 44 points and remain a point outside the safety zone.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris