SAIDO Berahino’s third goal of the season had The Hawthorns cheering a first home win of this Barclays Premier League campaign.
Berahino struck in the 54th minute of a tense showdown to ruin Sam Allardyce’s return with bottom club Sunderland.
The Black Cats gave a performance which registered the new manager’s impact but the Baggies saw out a nerve-jangling finale which pulled Albion back into the Premier League’s middle reaches.
Berahino pounced on a mistake from Sunderland keeper Costel Pantilimon, who failed to hang on to a Chris Brunt cross under the striker’s challenge. It gave Berahino a tap-in as the ball wriggled out of Pantilimon’s gloves.
It was a victory which saw Stephane Sessegnon make a triumphant return to Premier League action with his first start since March, Sessegnon producing a man-of-the-match performance from a wide right role.
There were determined performances throughout the team with Boaz Myhill making an outstanding early save to deny the visitors from their best effort, a close-range header from ex-Albion man Billy Jones.
But he was superbly protected by his defence while in midfield Darren Fletcher and Claudio Yacob also produced uncompromising performances.
Albion: Myhill; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Brunt; Sessegnon, D.Fletcher (c), Yacob, McClean; Berahino (Gardner 79), Rondon (Lambert 70).
Subs: Lindegaard, Olsson, Chester, Anichebe, McManaman.
Booked: Dawson (foul, 9); Yacob (foul 55);
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, Yedlin, Kaboul, O’Shea (c), Larsson (Johnson 61), Cattermole, Gomez (Defoe 70), M’Vila, Borini, S.Fletcher (Graham 75)
Subs: Mannone, Brown, Bridcutt, van Aanholt.
Bookings: Pantilimon (dissent 54); Borini (persistent fouling 84);
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Bradford)