West Bromwich Albion continued their stellar Premier League form on Saturday, posting a 4-2 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Strikes from Zoltan Gera, Shane Long, Romelu Lukaku and Marc-Antoine Fortune sealed the three points for the visitors, who move up to third in the English top flight as a result.
West Brom took the lead with a spectacular strike from Hungarian Gera from 25 yards out. They doubled their advantage thanks to an error from Simon Mignolet as he spilled the ball straight into the path of Long who tapped home.
Craig Gardner gave Sunderland hope of a revival when he scored from a long-range free kick but his side’s hopes were dashed when Liam Ridgewell was fouled in the penalty area by Adam Johnson.
On-loan forward Lukaku smashed the ball home from the spot kick before Sunderland managed another reply through Stephane Sessegnon.
Fortune’s stoppage-time strike sealed the points for Steve Clarke’s side.
The hosts had the first chance of the match as Sessegnon met Sebastian Larsson’s cross and Boaz Myhill had to get down low quickly to make a good stop.
Clarke’s side took the lead out of nothing thanks to a wonder strike from Gera, who let fly with a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area which sailed into the top corner of Mignolet’s net.
West Brom doubled their lead in bizarre fashion when Chris Brunt played a through ball to Long which Mignolet beat the Irishman to but then spilled right at his feet, the striker taking full advantage.
It could have got better for West Brom minutes into the second half as Long was put clear but this time Mignolet came out and made an excellent save to block the striker’s goal-bound shot.
Martin O’Neill’s side enjoyed plenty of possession but were unable to conjure anything threatening until Gardner fired a free kick past Myhill into the top corner with the aid of a deflection.
West Brom seemingly put the game to rest when Ridgewell was fouled by Johnson in the box and referee Dean pointed to the penalty spot, Lukaku converting.
Sunderland, however, came back again as Sessegnon fired in from close range after Myhill had parried the ball to his feet but O’Neill’s men could not force an equaliser as Fortune sealed the win at the death.