Last Updated: 24/11/12 2:43pm
Cracking game in the North East and West Brom, now up into third place, must surely have proved to any remaining doubters that their lofty league position is no fluke. Sunderland showed plenty of effort, but do apear t be struggling in the final third.
GOAL! Lukaku leads another counter and plays the ball to Fortune who curls the ball into the far corner from just inside the box.
GOAL! Fletcher meets the resulting corner and his bullet header is parried by Myhill, but Sessegnon is first to react and lashes the ball into the roof of the net from close range.
Larsson's cross falls to Jonson at the far post and his rasping volley is finger-tipped wide by Myhill.
Lukaku gets to the ball inside the box ahead of a hesitant Mignolet, but the angle is tight and al he can do is hook it across th face of goal before Sunderland clear.
The home fans are now heading for the exits in their droves - hopes of getting back into the game did not last long.
Ridgewell appeared to go down quite easily but there was no contcat by Johnson on the ball and to be fair to the referee, he was very well placed.
Ridgewell powers into the Sunderland box and is upended by Johnson - referee Dean points straight to the spot.
West Brom are enjoying an extended spell in the Sunderland half, but are not endearing themselves to the home fans who believe they are guilty of time-wasting.
Ridgewell does well to find Brunt down tghe left, but he scuffs his shot and Mignolet makes an easy catch.
Sunderland stay on the attack and Sessegnon's shot from 25 yards is deflected wide for a corner that Cuellar can only head wide.
GOAL! Gardner's free-kick from 25 yards deflects off the West Brom wall and finds the corner to give the hosts a lifeline.
We've now entered the final 20 minutes and Sunderland really do need a goal quickly to have any chance of getting something out of the game.
It's Odemwingie's last contribution as he is replaced by Marc-Antoine Fortune, with Romelu Lukaku on for Long.
Play has become a little scrappy in the last couple of minutes and that will suit West Brom down to the ground with two goals in the bank.
The Black Cats have slipped to 12/1 with Sky Bet for the draw with around 20 minutes to play at the Stadium of Light, while we go 5/4 that there will be no more goals.
Johnson plays a diagonal ball into the West Brom box, but McAuley is able to head clear unchallenged.
McClean's shot is deflected wide for a corner which Johnson takes and it's McClean who gets in the header but it's over.
The game has really opened up now and I'd be surprised if the scoreline stayed at 2-0 by the time the final whistle is blown.
West Brom counter and Morrison plays the ball out wide to Brunt, whose low cross-cum-shot fizzes across the face of goal and just wide of the far post.
McClean gets a chance to run to Jones and skips past him, but his low cross is cut out at the near post by McAuley.
Sunderland are pouring men forward at every opportunity but obviously there is the real danger of being caught on the break.
Morrsion gets in a vital lock as Larsson looks to play in Johnson - noise now from the home fans who can sense their side could force their way back into the game.
Better from Sunderland and certainly Myhill has not inspired too much confidence with his handling so far.
Rose plays a crossfield pass to Johnson and as space opens up for him, he lets fly from 30 yards with Myhill making an awkward parry as the ball dips just in-front of him before Olsson completes the clearance.
The visitors are winning all the second balls at present and are forcing the hosts back which is not improving the mood of the Sunderland fans.
Mignolet partially makes up for his first-half howler as he makes a fine bock to deny Long who had been put through by Brunt.
Gardner bursts into the West Brom box, but his low cross hits Ridgewell and Myhill is able to gather at his near post.
Crunching tackle by Gera on Rose, but no word from the referee as the hosts give possession away from the resulting free kick.
West Brom restart the second half with James McClean coming on for O'Shea, with Bardsley taking the captain's armband for Sunderland.
West Brom are well worth their lead thanks to Gera's spectacular strike and a complete howler from home keeper Mignolet, but Sessegnon has had three good chances for Sunderland. An early goal in the second period for the hosts and it will be 'game on' again!
We will have a minimum of three minutes added time as Fletcher wins the ball on the edge of the Sunderland box but shoots wide with an unmarked Johnson screaming for the ball to his left.
Sunderland look to hit back and Gardner's rasping free-kick brings a superb save from Myhill, parrying the ball to his right.
What was the keeper thinking? He attempted to dive on the ball when it appeared as though he could simply have picked it up. Credit to Long who kept on running and his reward was arguably the simplest goal of his career.
GOAL! An absolute howler from Mignolet sees him inexplicably fumble an overhit pass from Brunt and presents Long with an empty net from six yards.
Sessegnon powers into the box and shoots with a slight deflection making it an easier save for Myhill.
The possession stats have changed to 55%-45% in Sunderland's favour but the most important stat of all is that West Brom have the lead.
Sunderland waste the set piece as the ball drifts harmlessly through to Myhill who takes his time before kicking downfield.
"We're gonna win the league" is the cry from the travelling West Brom fans - it has to be said that they do look like a very solid outfit.
After falling behind, Sunderland are now 6/1 with Sky Bet to emerge with three points here today, while a draw is available at 5/2.
The hosts win it back and O'Shea unleashes a curling shot from the edge of the box that goes just wide.
The hosts look to hit back and force a corner wih Larsson's kick causing problems at the near post until the Baggies clear.
Another fierce tackle by Cattermole who is spoken to for the third time by the referee - one more incident and I fear it'll be the yellow card.
Mignolet almost makes a hash of gathering a Brunt cross, but manages to do so at the second attempt.
Sunderland have certainly had the best two chances of the game so far, even if West Brom have seen more of the ball.
The hosts are then awarded another free-kick that Johnson takes, but it's too deep and goes out for a goalkick.
Sunderland have a free-kick midway inside the West Brom half. Seb Larsson takes it and Sessegnon meets it with a glancing header that Myhill parries.
Liam Ridgewell gets forward and is played in by Gera, but the offside flag is raised with West Brom enjoying a good spell.
There was contact on Long who can count himself unlucky to be carded, but relief for Sunderland that they are not down to 10 men.
The referee pulls out the yellow card and for a few seconds it looks as though O'Shea has been given it and he's off, but instead it goes to the West Brom striker for simulation.
Rose's long ball is flicked on by Johnson for Stephane Sessegnon whose shot with the outside of his foot is scrambled around the post by Myhill.
Cattermole makes a crunching tackle on Claudio Yacob and although his feet were raised, nothing is given by the referee.
Morrison gives the ball away to Johnson who finds Danny Rose and his cross is headed clear by Olsson. Phil Bardsley whips it back in and it's just too far ahead of Steven Fletcher lurking in the six-yard box.
No real openings as yet but West Brom are knocking the ball about with the confidence you would expect from a side who have made such a good start to the season - the stats say 55%-45% possession in West Brom's favour.
West Brom free-kick taken by Gera, headed away by O'Shea and Brunt's chip to the far post goes out for a goalkick.
More good passing from the visitors ends with a speculative Odemwingie shot from 25 yards that partially deflects off Cuellar and Mignolet saves.
James Morrison just wins the ball ahead of an on-rushing Lee Cattermole - even I was bracing myself for the impact there!
West Brom have a free-kick some 35 yards out which Zoltan Gera chips into the box but it's an easy gather for keeper Simon Mignolet.
West Brom are knocking the ball about with great aplomb in the Sunderland half, but lose it and the hosts break with Adam Johnson cutting inside and unleashing a low shot that keeper Boaz Myhill saves to his right.
Gareth McAuley plays the ball down the line for Peter Odemwingie, but Carlos Cuellar comes across to take the ball off him and clear downfield.
Baggies fan Ken says: "A little surprised we've not started with Lukaku today, think his style would have caused Sunderland real problems. Having said that Steve Clarke hasn't got a lot wrong so far this season and I think three points should be ours for the taking by as much as 3-1. Boing! Boing!"
First e-mail of the day comes from Gabriel Suton who says: "I feel like it's too good to be true for West Brom this season. The fact that they could climb to 3rd is testament to the job Steve Clarke has done, but I think they're due a reality check. Sunderland had a massive confidence booster at Fulham last week and I think they can build on that by bringing Fletcher into form. 2-1 is my guess." "That could be true Gabriel, but the Premier League is not the best this season in terms of overall standard so I think you might have a surprise package breaching the top four come next May." SC
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill names an unchanged team for this afternoon's Barclays Premier League clash with West Brom as he goes in search of back-to-back victories. Craig Gardner has to make do with a seat on the bench on his return from suspension as O'Neill keeps faith with the men who won 3-1 at Fulham on Sunday. Baggies counterpart Steve Clarke hands returns to Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt as Gabriel Tamas and Chris Brunt replace Gabriel Tamas and the injured Youssouf Mulumbu.
The team are as follows - Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose, Larsson, Cattermole, Colback, Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Gardner, Campbell, Kilgallon, Vaughan, McClean, Saha. West Brom: Myhill, Jones, Olsson, McAuley, Ridgewell, Odemwingie, Yacob, Morrison, Brunt, Gera, Long. Subs: Luke Daniels, Popov, Rosenberg, Dorrans, Lukaku, Tamas, Fortune. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral)
Our colleagues at Sky Bet make Sunderland 11/8 to win the match, with West Brom 19/10 and the draw on offer at 12/5. An addition to their price boosts sees James Morrison to score first and either West Brom to win 1-0 or West Brom to win 2-1 at 35/1.
Good afternoon (just!) and welcome to our coverage of today's Premier League clash between Sunderland and West Brom at a chilly Stadium of Light. The Black Cats go into the match buoyed after securing just a second league win in 19 attempts courtesy of a 3-1 victory at Fulham last weekend, but they are still just three points clear of the bottom three. The Baggies are the suprise package of the season so far, starting the day in fourth spot, having won seven and drawn two of their 12 league matches so far - including an impressive 2-1 success over Chelsea a week ago. Team news will follow shortly and, as always, we welcome your views so send them to email@example.com and I'll publish the best ones.