West Brom continue to fly high

West Bromwich's Albion dream season continued as they moved up to third in the Premier League following a 4-2 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Last Updated: 24/11/12 at 19:42 Post Comment

Simon Mignolet: Sunderland's goalkeeper produced a dreadful blunder to gift

Simon Mignolet: Sunderland's goalkeeper produced a dreadful blunder to gift

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Zoltan Gera's brilliant strike, a dreadful blunder by Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, which gifted Shane Long a goal, Romelu Lukaku's penalty and Marc-Antoine Fortune's late finish gave Steve Clarke's side the points despite Craig Gardner's free-kick and Stephane Sessegnon's late tap-in having given the home fans something to cheer.

The win pushed West Brom above Chelsea, who host Manchester City in Rafa Benitez's first game in interim charge on Sunday, on to a total of 26 points from 13 games in what is emerging as an unexpectedly successful campaign.

In contrast, defeat for Sunderland added to the pressure on Martin O'Neill, which had only been temporarily lifted with last weekend's win at Fulham, and the Black Cats have now still won just one home game this season to leave them languishing close to the relegation zone.

The match's first real talking point came in the 20th minute when relieved Sunderland defender John O'Shea thought he had been shown a second yellow for a challenge on Long only to realise his Republic of Ireland team-mate had been harshly booked for diving.

Boaz Myhill was then fortunate not to be punished when the West Brom goalkeeper only palmed a header from Sessegnon, clearly full of confidence after his spectacular goal at Fulham, back into the danger zone.

But, in the 30th minute, Sunderland paid the price for their missed chances as Gera gave West Brom the lead by curling an excellent, left-footed, 25-yard effort past Mignolet, who could only brush his fingertips against the ball.

Mignolet and Sunderland's problems deepened one minute before half-time when the goalkeeper made an embarrassing hash of dealing with Chris Brunt's harmless, over-hit through-ball, allowing Long to pounce and walk the ball into the open net.

O'Neill, who had lost captain Lee Cattermole to injury in the first half, made another change at half-time and sent on James McClean in place of O'Shea, with Phil Bardsley moving to centre-back and Sebastian Larsson shifting to right-back.

But West Brom continued to look a threat on the counter-attack and Mignolet had to partly atone for his earlier blunder by saving a one-on-one with Long when rushing off his line to block the striker.

Sunderland, though, were back in the game in the 73rd minute when Gardner, who returned from suspension as a replacement for Cattermole, hit a free-kick and saw it deflect off the wall to beat Myhill.

The strike lifted Sunderland's spirits but it was short-lived as substitute Lukaku's 81st minute penalty, after Liam Ridgewell had gone down somewhat softly under a challenge from Adam Johnson, and Fortune's injury-time goal sandwiched Sessegnon's close-range finish at a corner.


SunderlandTeam StatisticsWest Bromwich Albion
2Goals4
01st Half Goals2
10Shots on Target6
7Shots off Target6
3Blocked Shots2
7Corners2
12Fouls16
2Offsides1
2Yellow Cards3
0Red Cards0
83.4Passing Success83.4
17Tackles20
70.6Tackles Success65
49Possession51
49.5Territorial Advantage50.5
428Total Passes469
34Total Crosses12
140Lost Balls137
49Recoveries58
48.61st Half Poss.51.4
472nd Half Poss.53

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lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

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e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

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urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

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