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Sunderland 1-1 West Brom: Van Aanholt Goal Rescues Point

A late goal from Patrick Van Aanholt saw Sunderland take home a point against a solid West Bromwich Albion side.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Sunderland, still looking for their first win, faced a well-drilled and disciplined Tony Pulis side who've had a bright start to their season. After losing a two goal lead last week, it's been back to basics for Sunderland in training, which would be needed  against the set-piece specialists from the West Midlands.


David Moyes was without Adnan Januzaj, Lee Cattermole, Steven Pienaar and Victor Anichebe due to injuries. John O'Shea was back in defence, Paddy McNair started in midfield alongside Wahbi Khazri who was making his first Premier League start of the season.


West Brom named an unchanged side from last week with the dual threat of Salomon Rondon and Nacer Chadli impressing up front. Former Sunderland players James McLean and Jonny Evans were in the starting eleven, Craig Gardner on the bench.


Defeat for Sunderland today would represent the worst start to a season in Premier League history. However, Sunderland started the brighter and on three minutes a through ball from Watmore found Defoe played onside by Dawson, with only Ben Foster to beat. Uncharacteristically, it was slotted wide in what for the striker was one of his easier chances.


West Brom responded to the early Sunderland pressure and on eight minutes Matt Phillips found space on the left hand side too easily and crossed into Chadli who forced a good save from Pickford.


Sunderland looked effective going forward with Ndong and Watmore causing the West Brom defence some problems. There was good pressing from Sunderland and they again came close on 25 mins from a Khazri corner which Defoe only just failed to get on the end of. After thirty minutes, Sunderland were the better team.


However, on thirty-five minutes Sunderland, again pushing forward, lost the ball on the half way line, Matt Phillips put Chadli through and his speed and control took him away from the chasing Kone and enabled him to slot the ball past Pickford and put the visitors ahead.


How would the fragile nerves of Sunderland respond? They continued to press, but another counter attack by West Brom just before half time saw McLean one-on-one with Pickford only to drag his shot badly wide.

Sunderland came out for the second half  brightly, chasing the game, but on 53 minutes, Kirchhoff pulled up jumping for a header and immediately signaled that he couldn't continue. Patrick van Aarnholt came on to play in front of Denayer in left midfield.

West Brom know how to hold on to a lead and they stifled Sunderland going forward. Sunderland lacked invention or the quality to break the defence down and West Brom always posed a danger on the counter attack. However, on seventy minutes a sublime cross field diagonal pass found Khazri in the right wing position who squared it to Jermain Defoe on the edge of the penalty area, only to have his shot charged down. Both sides then made a substitution, Gardner coming on for the yellow carded McLean and Paddy McNair who had gone quiet in the second half, making way for Jack Rodwell.

Sunderland continued to push bodies forward, but West Brom always looked to counter when they won back possession and another good through ball from Chadli put Rondon away to force another good save from Pickford.

On eighty-two minutes a long ball forward from West Brom was cut out by van Aanholt who headed down to Ndong. Sunderland countered and Watmore carried the ball into the penalty area, squared it back to van Aarnholt who had continued his run and struck the ball into the ground and over Ben Foster to draw the game level.

The game then assumed a frenetic pace with both sides trying to get all three points. Lynden Gooch came on for Khazri with five minutes of extra time to play, and Sunderland continued to press but lacked the killer pass in the danger areas. A Jonny Evans block on Watmore gave the home team a free kick twenty yards out but Defoes long distance strike went wide, and proved to be the last kick of the game.

A better performance from Sunderland who suffered from defensive frailties in the first half but showed character to come back at a resolute West Brom. Khazri and Watmore worked hard to create chances from midfield for the home team but quality in the penalty area was always in short supply. Sunderland had to avoid a defeat and West Brom had the better chances. In the end a draw was probably a better result for Sunderland than the visitors.

Sunderland: (4-2-3-1): Pickford, Denayer, Kone, O'Shea, Manquillo, Kirchhoff (Yellow 35') (van Aanholt 56') McNair, (Rodwell 89') Ndong, Watmore, Defoe.

Subs: Domingues, Djilobodji, Rodwell, van Aanholt,  Love, Honeyman, Gooch.

Goals: van Aanholt (82')

West Brom: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom, Phillips, Cletcher (c), Yacob (Yellow 26'), McClean (Yellow 68'), Chadli, (Morrison 89') Rondon.(Robson-Kanu 93')

Subs: Myhill, Olsson, Gardner, Robson-Kanu, Berahino, Morrison, Leko.

Goals: Chadli (35')

Referee: Stuart Attwell