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Pierre Ekwah nets winner as Sunderland beat 10-man West Brom

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Apr 2024

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Ten-man West Brom’s Championship play-off charge was dented as Sunderland won 1-0 at The Hawthorns.

Pierre Ekwah netted the winner after connecting first time with a Callum Styles corner at the end of the first half.

That immediately followed West Brom forward Brandon Thomas-Asante’s 43rd-minute red card for two bookable offences, the first Albion player to be sent off of Carlos Corberan’s 16-month reign.

The defeat left the Baggies fifth, seven points clear of seventh-placed Hull, who had a game in hand.

Sunderland centre-half Dan Ballard, whose foul on West Brom striker Josh Maja in the reverse fixture at the Stadium Of Light back in December ruled the striker out for four months, was booed by the home crowd with his every touch.

West Brom began with a greater tempo than their visitors, who had played out two goalless draws prior to this.

Sunderland captain Luke O’Nien was required to nod behind a teasing delivery from Albion winger Mikey Johnston before Nathaniel Chalobah tested his luck from outside of the penalty area with a dipping effort which goalkeeper Anthony Patterson claimed at the second attempt.

The real first-half drama unfolded in the final few minutes leading up to the break.

Thomas-Asante was late when he caught Jack Clarke and was appropriately booked by referee Matthew Donohue.

The man in the middle reached for his pocket a minute later when the Albion striker took a heavy touch and, in attempting to retrieve the ball, cleaned out Ballard. Thomas-Asante was duly given his marching orders.

Things got worse for the hosts in first half stoppage time. Styles took a corner from the left and Ekwah, near the penalty spot, was left unmarked and was able to stylishly steer the ball into the top corner, well beyond the reach of Alex Palmer, to the delight of the strong away following.

Sunderland returned with more of a swagger to their play against their depleted opponents.

Midfielder Dan Neil was teed up by Chris Rigg on the edge of the penalty area and he stung the palms of Palmer, who had to help the ball over the bar.

John Swift bent a shot just wide of Patterson’s far post from the edge of the area, but Sunderland themselves came close to killing the game as a contest when Styles cut inside from the left and arrowed a curling shot wide of the outstretching Palmer’s far post.

For West Brom, there was a lack of potency following Thomas-Asante’s dismissal and the Black Cats claimed just their second victory in 12 league matches, ending Albion’s 10-match unbeaten run.

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