Premier League - West Brom beat 10-man Villa
West Brom came from a goal down to beat 10-man Aston Villa 2-1 in a controversial Premier League clash at Villa Park.
But Jonas Olsson - involved in Herd's controversial dismissal - levelled on the stroke of half-time with a powerful header and Paul Scharner grabbed all three points and the derby spoils for the visitors with an emphatic second-half volley.
Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish made four changes from the side beaten 4-1 at Manchester City as fit-again James Collins, Herd, Barry Bannan and Charles N'Zogbia were recalled, while Albion head coach Roy Hodgson restored striker Peter Odemwingie to the starting line-up in place of Somen Tchoyi.
Bent could have given his side the lead in just the fifth minute after Barry Bannan slipped an incisive through ball into his path, only for the England striker to blaze a wild shot over the crossbar with just Foster to beat.
There was a long delay in play as Shane Long was dumped on his back unceremoniously following a wild lunge from Alan Hutton, but remarkably referee Phil Dowd deemed it a fair challenge with the ball played.
Hutton effectively kicked Long out of the game as he followed that challenge up with another robust and cynical lunge which did earn him a belated booking, but which also saw Long hobble off in the 20th minute and replaced by Tchoyi.
Bent dispatched the resulting spot kick with aplomb, and Villa assumed command of the match as a strong period of possession from the hosts ensued.
But any advantage Villa had was quickly eroded as referee Phil Dowd showed Herd a straight red card and awarded a penalty in the 34th minute. Richard Dunne rose high inside the Villa box and handled the ball under pressure from Olsson, with the result being a spot kick and a dismissal for a bewildered Herd.
TV replays indicated that there had been a petulant stamp by Herd on Olsson as the pair clambered to their feet amid a mini-scuffle, prior to Dunne's handball. The decision prompted widespread confusion, but the information provided by assistant referee Darren Cann appeared to dictate Dowd's decision.
Villa were handed a reprieve as Brunt blazed the resulting penalty kick well wide after the protests of the Albion players finally abated. It was a horrible miss, but fortunately for Brunt, not one he would be left to rue.
McLeish's frustration was compounded when Hutton clashed heads with N'Zogbia on halfway in the 41st minute and had to be immediately led down the tunnel as a result of concussion, with the Villa boss making the enforced change of introducing Carlos Cuellar.
Within four minutes West Brom were level as a pinpoint delivery arrived from Brunt from a corner, and Olsson rose high to head powerfully beyond Given.
A dramatic first half ended in fitting fashion as Odemwingie streaked clear of the Villa back four and lashed an emphatic finish beyond Given, only to see his crazed celebrations ended abruptly by an extremely late offside flag.
Olsson nearly infuriated the home fans further as he met a corner from Brunt out on the right with a powerful header in the 55th minute, but it flew agonisingly over the crossbar with Given at full stretch.
Two minutes later, Albion were in front as Scharner unleashed a stunning volley from inside the Villa box after another inswinging corner from Brunt - this time from the left - drifted through a crowd of bodies. It was a crisp strike which stunned the home fans.
The Baggies could have increased their lead in the 65th minute as Jerome Thomas saw a fierce shot blocked just off the goalline by Collins, who positioned himself perfectly and showed real bravery in taking the hit.
Villa could not muster a response with their numerical disadvantage hampering their efforts in the final third, and it was Hodgson's side who claimed the derby spoils while the hosts were left to bemoan a red card which had a significant effect on the result.