West Brom 3 Sunderland 0

Published:
by Stuart Vose

Black Cats defeated at The Hawthorns.

Sunderland suffered defeat in the Midlands as West Brom notched their first win of the season.

Stephane Sessegnon’s 20th-minute strike against his former club was added to in the second period by Liam Ridgewell’s effort with a quarter of an hour to go, before Morgan Amalfitano found the net late on.

A tough afternoon was compounded by the loss of Steven Fletcher, who was forced off with an injury after falling awkwardly 19 minutes from time.

Sunderland, then 1-0 down, were forced to play the remainder of the game with 10 men and Ridgewell popped up soon afterwards to double the hosts’ lead.

Amalfitano struck his first goal for the West Brom in injury time to leave Sunderland to reflect on a difficult outing.

The Black Cats showed four changes from the defeat to Arsenal, with John O’Shea, Emanuele Giaccherini and Craig Gardner stepping into the starting line-up, while Fabio Borini made his first start for the club since joining from Liverpool on transfer deadline day.

Sunderland had the better of the play in the early stages, creating a couple of half-chances without testing Boaz Myhill in the home goal.

But their early platform was undone as Albion went ahead through Sessegnon with their first effort on goal.

Scott Sinclair's close-range effort was parried by Keiren Westwood after the ball was whipped towards the near post, but the loose ball ran to the unmarked Sessegnon who was left with a simple finish as he clipped the ball home.

Sunderland were almost level just before the half-hour when a cross from the left found Adam Johnson, whose well-struck low drive took a nick off the covering Jonas Olsson and flashed inches past the base of the post.

But the home side were strengthening their grip on the game, propelled by the confidence gained from taking the lead.

An Amalfitano effort from just outside the box looked like it might sail in when the ball clipped the ducking Anelka, but the shot brushed the top of the crossbar and flashed over.

Boss Paolo Di Canio made a change at the break, replacing Giaccherini with Charis Mavrias, and his side came close seven minutes into the second half - Gardner’s whipped free-kick was nodded hastily away when it looked as if the delivery might curl inside the far post.

A second substitute, Jozy Altidore, followed Mavrias into the fray just before the hour, with the striker replacing Borini as Di Canio looked for a spark.

And Altidore almost broke through as he met Jack Colback’s low cross 12 yards out, but the American’s shot was well blocked by Olsson, who threw himself in the way of the ball to snuff out the danger.

However, Albion were still launching attacking raids with regularity and Nicolas Anelka will have been disappointed not to score when he headed a deep cross wide at the far post under pressure from Celustka, who managed to get a touch on the ball.

Di Canio made his final change with 21 minutes to play as Lee Cattermole replaced Craig Gardner, with the midfielder making his first appearance since early February.

But, with the third and final sub made, Sunderland lost Fletcher to a painful-looking injury, forcing them to play the final 19 minutes with 10 men.

The frontman got in front of his marker to fire a Johnson cross over the top only to land heavily on his shoulder.

He was helped from the field after extensive treatment – and Albion cashed in on their numerical advantage to double their lead with a quarter of an hour to play.

A dangerous cross into the six-yard box was clawed away by Westwood, but the ball fell to the lurking Ridgewell who dispatched a rasping drive through a crowd of players and into the back of the net.

James Morrison nodded just wide in the closing stages, but the Baggies weren't to be denied and netted a third goal during five minutes of time added on.

Recent signing Amalfitano found some space on the right and drilled a powerful shot across Westwood and into the corner of the net.

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Team Sheet

Myhill
13
Jones
28
Ridgewell
6
McAuley
23
Olsson
3
Mulumbu
21
Amalfitano
18
Morrison
7
Sinclair (Yacob)
10
Sessegnon (Berahino)
29
Anelka (Anichebe)
39
Westwood
20
O'Shea
16
Celustka
12
Diakité
21
Colback Yellow
14
Johnson
11
Ki Yellow
4
Gardner (Cattermole)
8
Giaccherini (Mavrias)
23
Borini (Altidore)
31
Fletcher
9

Substitutes

Camp
12
Anichebe
16
Yacob
5
Lugano
14
Popov
4
Rosenberg
8
Berahino
38
Mavrias
35
Ji
27
Ba
22
Altidore
17
Mannone
25
Cuéllar
24
Cattermole
33