West Brom hold on with win over Sunderland

West Brom 3 Sunderland 0

Chris Brunt continued his hot streak of goal-scoring form as West Brom kept alive their faint hopes of avoiding relegation with a first win in 12 games against the Black Cats.

The Northern Ireland international struck the decisive second goal his fourth in the last three games after Jonas Olsson had broken the deadlock.

Juan Carlos Menseguez’s first goal for the club put the icing on the cake for Albion as fellow strugglers Sunderland slumped to a fifth defeat in the last six games.

Albion also kept only their second clean sheet since their last victory a 3-0 triumph over Middlesbrough in mid-January as the Sunderland forward duo of Kenwyne Jones and Djibril Cisse were kept under control.

The home side still have a mountain to climb if they are to repeat their Great Escape heroics of four years ago during the Bryan Robson era.

But at least they are showing signs of not going down without a fight and they were well worth the three points.

Olsson was solid as a rock at the back, youngster Graham Dorrans impressed in midfield being picking up an injury and Brunt was a constant threat.

Only midfielder Kieran Richardson a member of that Albion side which defied the odds in 2005 threatened to deny Albion a rare victory.

Sunderland midfielder Andy Reid found the target with a dipping 20 yard effort but it did not trouble West Brom goalkeeper Scott Carson.

A low centre from Albion’s on-loan Arsenal striker Jay Simpson took a deflection and fell invitingly to Robert Koren 15 yards out but his left-footed shot was blocked by Teemu Tainio.

Sunderland responded and a quick break by Cisse found them with a three versus two advantage but Abdoulaye Meite rescued the situation with a solid tackle on the Black Cats leading scorer.

It was 26 minutes before Marton Fulop, who had replaced the injured Craig Gordon, was extended for the first time, holding onto a low left-footed shot from Brunt which took a slight deflection.

Carson could only palm a cross from Reid into the path of Edwards but he appeared to be taken by surprise and his header looped harmlessly over the bar.

Richardson brought a fine full-length save out of Carson with a swerving 30 yard drive which was turned around the post.

Then after 40 minutes central defender Olsson broke the deadlock by putting Albion in front with his third goal of the campaign.

Skipper Jonathan Greening’s inswinging corner flicked off the head of Abdoulaye Meite to Olsson at the far the post and his low left-footed half volley flew past Fulop.

Mowbray made a double half-time substitution with Youssouf Mulumbu and Shelton Martis replacing Simpson and Meite respectively.

The Black Cats made their first change after 52 minutes with Reid making way for Dean Whitehead and shortly afterwards Steed Malbranque came on for for Edwards.

Fulop had to come racing out of his area to deny Brunt after he had attempted to run onto a fine pass from Koren in a rare moment of excitement.

But after 58 minutes Brunt scored his fourth goal in the last three games to double the Baggies lead.

Fortune showed his power to shrug off the challenge of Anton Ferdinand and his low cross from the by-line was turned home at close range by the former Sheffield Wednesday man.

The impressive Dorrans limped out of the action after 63 minutes as Juan Carlos Menseguez became the third Albion substitute.

Cisse then missed a golden chance to reduce the arrears when he deflected a shot from Tainio over the bar from close range.

With a minute left, Brunt turned creator as his pass was turned home by Menseguez.

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