PREM: West Brom 2-0 Sunderland


Darren Fletcher of West Bromwich Albion (CL) celebrates scoring his side's first goal

Stunning volleys from Darren Fletcher and Chris Brunt handed West Brom a comfortable 2-0 victory over Sunderland on Saturday.


Fletcher's brilliant chest and volley fired West Brom in front after half an hour, before Brunt doubled their lead six minutes later with a powerful effort from 20 yards out. The result leaves Sunderland bottom of the table and three points from safety following Swansea's thrilling 3-2 win at Liverpool.

West Brom solidify their position in the top half after inflicting a fourth defeat in five league games for the Black Cats. David Moyes opted to bring in George Honeyman for this first league start, while Victor Anichebe returned to the bench having not featured for Sunderland since New Year's Eve.

Meanwhile, Tony Pulis named new West Brom signing Jake Livermore on the bench, while Allan Nyom was cleared to start after FIFA rejected Cameroon's complaint which had kept him out of their two previous games. And it was Pulis' side who started the brighter of the two, peppering the Sunderland box with a number of crosses - particularly down the right through Nyom and Matt Phillips.

Sunderland's solitary chance of the half came after nine minutes, but Jermain Defoe's shot on the turn was deflected out for a corner. The hosts then pushed on, and should have taken the lead after 29 minutes, but Salomon Rondon's goal-bound header inadvertently flicked off Phillips and sailed narrowly wide.

Sunderland then made a meal of clearing a corner and following a short game of head tennis, Gareth McAuley picked out skipper Fletcher, who chested it down before volleying into the far corner to hand West Brom the lead. It was no more than West Brom deserved, and it got better just six minutes later with another sensational volley.

Phillips' low ball in was initially pushed into the path of Nacer Chadli, but his effort cannoned off the crossbar and fell into the path of Brunt - who unleashed an unstoppable effort beyond Vito Mannone. After the break, Sunderland enjoyed more of the ball, but a number of free-kick routines failed to pay off when Sebastian Larsson was simply better placed to shoot.
 
Livermore was introduced late on for the hosts, and it was almost the perfect start for the former Hull midfielder, but he shinned his shot wide after meeting a cross 10 yards out. Sunderland rarely looked like getting back into the game, and a severe lack of clear-cut chances may see David Moyes look to bolster his attack before the transfer window closes.


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