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Match report: Ten man West Brom lose to Sunderland

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Sunderland won 1-0 at The Hawthorns, denting ten-man West Brom’s hopes of qualifying for the Championship play-offs.

At the end of the first half, Pierre Ekwah scored the winner after making his first connection with a corner from Callum Styles.

It came right after West Brom forward Brandon Thomas-Asante, who was sent off for two bookable offenses in the 43rd minute and became the first Albion player to be sent off during Carlos Corberan’s 16-month tenure.

After the loss, the Baggies were now in fifth place, seven points ahead of Hull in seventh, who still had a game in hand.

Sunderland center-half The home crowd jeered at every move Dan Ballard made, especially after he fouled West Brom striker Josh Maja during the home team’s four-month absence due to a foul back in December at the Stadium of Light.

After two goalless draws, West Brom started the match at a faster pace than their opponents.

Before Nathaniel Chalobah tried his luck from outside the penalty area with a dipping effort that goalkeeper Anthony Patterson claimed on the second try, Sunderland captain Luke O’Nien had to head behind a tease from Albion winger Mikey Johnston.

The last few minutes before halftime were when the actual drama of the first half played out.

When Thomas-Asante caught Jack Clarke, he was running late, and referee Matthew Donohue duly booked him.

A minute later, the Albion striker made a heavy touch and, in trying to recover the ball, cleared out Ballard, prompting the man in the middle to grab for his pocket. With due diligence, Thomas-Asante received his marching instructions.

During first half stoppage time, things went worse for the hosts. The boisterous away crowd celebrated as Styles took a corner from the left and Ekwah, close to the penalty spot, found himself unmarked and able to direct the ball into the top corner, far beyond Alex Palmer’s reach.

In their weakened opponents’ game, Sunderland came back with more confidence.

Chris Rigg set up midfielder Dan Neil on the edge of the penalty box, and he stung Palmer’s palms, forcing Palmer to assist the ball over the bar.

From the edge of the area, John Swift bent a shot just wide of Patterson’s far post, but Styles’ cut inside from the left and curling shot just wide of the outstretching Palmer’s far post nearly put an end to the match for Sunderland.

After dismissing Thomas-Asante, West Brom lacked strength and won just twice in their last 12 league games, ending Albion’s winning streak of ten games.

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