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West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Sunderland: Black Cats Rescued by Larsson’s Late Equaliser

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The wait for the first win at the Hawthorns since March 2007 goes on as the Black Cats battled for an opening day draw.

Stu Forster

Seb Larsson’s 84th minute equaliser secured Sunderland a point at the Hawthorns after a Saido Berahino double looked to have given West Brom all three points.

West Brom started the game brightly and they were nearly rewarded for their early pressure when Saido Berahino was sent through on goal but he was denied by a last ditch double tackle from Cattermole and Brown.

Sunderland took the lead from the ensuing passage of play on 4 mins.  A Seb Larrson free kick was only half cleared when the ball fell to Lee Cattermole who struck a thunderbolt from 25 yards into the top corner, leaving the diving Ben Foster with no chance.

West Brom continued to control possession without creating any clear cut opportunities as Sunderland seemed content to sit deep and hit the Baggies on the counter attack.

Sunderland should really have doubled their lead on 30 mins from another Seb Larrson free kick. The Swede swung an inviting ball into the six yard area which was met by Valentin Roberge who saw his header go agonisingly past the post, leaving Foster stranded.

West Brom were being limited to long range efforts by the stubborn Sunderland defence who looked like getting in at half time with a 1-0 lead.

However, on 41 mins West Brom got their chance to equalise from the spot after Roberge was adjudged to have brought down Anichebe in the box. Contact looked to have been minimal, but referee Neill Swarbrick awarded the spot kick which Berahino slotted away.

After the break it was the home side that started with more intensity, but like the first half it was Sunderland who had the first chance. Again from a Larsson set piece - this time a corner, which was met by Connor Wickham at the back post who shot wide after nipping in behind Wisdom.

Sunderland thought they had re – taken the lead on 59 mins through a Steven Fletcher header. The cross supplied by the outstanding Cattermole was flicked on to find Fletcher at the far post, but his header was rightly disallowed for offside.

West Brom took the lead on 74 mins just after Sunderland gambled by bringing on two attacking substitutions. A Graham Dorrans shot was parried into the path of Gardner who crossed for berahino to slide the ball in unmarked at the back post.

Sunderland applied late pressure to the West Brom goal and they were rewarded with an equaliser on 84 mins after some delicious build up play. The move started by Lee Cattermole who launched a diagonal ball across to Van Aanholt, who played a one – two with Gomez, then slid the ball across to Larsson for the Swedish international to finish superbly into the corner.

West Brom (4-2-3-1): Foster, Wisdom, Dawson, Olsson, Pocognoli, Mulumbu, Gardner (Yacob 83’), Dorrans (Sessegnon 83’), Berahino, Brunt (Baird 76’), Anichebe.

Subs: Myhill, Ideye, Davidson, O’Neil, Sessegnon, Yacob, Baird.

Goals: Berahino (41’) (74’)

Sunderland (4-3-3): Mannone, Roberge, van Aanholt, Brown (Altidore 80’), O'Shea (c), Cattermole, Larsson, Rodwell (Gomez 67’), Johnson (Buckley 72’), Wickham, Fletcher.

Subs: Pantilimon, Bridcutt, Gomez, Altidore, Mavrias, Graham, Buckley.

Goals: Cattermole (4’), Larsson (84’)