Premier League: West Bromwich Albion 2 Sunderland 1
By Football News
In a scrappy game both sides created a number of opportunities but neither goalkeeper was regularly called upon.
The opening goal of the game came in the first half from the impressive Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian converting a penalty after Craig Gardner handled a Liam Ridgewell cross.
Lukaku added a second after half-time as he chased down a poor Titus Bramble back pass before Simon Mignolet's clearance rebounded off him into the net.
The visitors got a goal back with 11 minutes to play through Stephane Sessegnon but it failed to spark a push for an equaliser.
A slow start did not help lift the temperatures inside the Hawthorns but the game came into life in the 24th minute and chances began to appear at both ends.
The post denied Steven Fletcher minutes after a Lukaku miss, and the visitors were soon made to pay.
Lukaku opened the scoring in the 34th minute from the penalty spot with his 11th goal of the season. Gardner, playing as a makeshift right back, handled Ridgewell's delivery inside the area to gift the home side the lead.
The second half started slowly and although there were potential openings neither side were able to test the opposition goalkeeper until the 75th minute, when Lukaku created and scored his second goal of the game.
The striker stole the ball from John O'Shea on the half-way line and latched onto a weak Bramble back pass, with Mignolet's clearance striking Lukaku and rebounding into the net.
Sunderland grabbed a lifeline with 11 minutes to go when James McClean picked out Sessegnon, who created space for himself and slotted home what proved to be mere consolation.