Albion move on to 32 points from 22 games
- Darren Fletcher with super volley (30)
- Chris Brunt drills home fierce second (36)
- Second-half sub Jake Livermore makes Baggies bow
- Attendance: 24,380
- Albion Star Man: Darren Fletcher
ALBION claimed a 2-0 victory over Sunderland at The Hawthorns to move on to 32 points in the Premier League.
Darren Fletcher's superbly-taken volley and Chris Brunt's thunderbolt opened up a two-goal lead at the interval and put the Baggies on their way to all three points - maintaining eighth place in the top-flight table.
New signing Jake Livermore stepped off the bench in the 72nd minute to make his debut as Albion, having now lost just one of their previous 15 meetings with the Black Cats, got back to winning ways.
It was a fifth win in six successive home matches for Tony Pulis' side, who have found the net 15 times during that two-month period.
Albion and Sunderland supporters united in the fifth minute to applaud terminally-ill five-year-old Bradley Lowery, with a supportive specially-made banner also displayed in the stands along with a bucket collection around the stadium.
The hosts started brightly and had strong appeals for a penalty turned down when Salomon Rondon appeared to be manhandled in the penalty area, while Nacer Chadli tested Vito Mannone.
The lively Matt Phillips went close, minutes after inadvertently directing Rondon's goalbound header off target. And it was no surprise when the Baggies, who welcomed Allan Nyom back into their starting XI, took the lead via a well-worked set-piece routine.
Phillips' corner was headed on by Brunt on the edge of the area, Chadli found Gareth McAuley, who headed for Fletcher to chest, turn and volley across Mannone.
Within six minutes it was 2-0. Phillips sent the ball through the legs of Sunderland skipper John O'Shea and crossed into the danger zone, Chadli fired against the woodwork and the ball broke on the edge of the area to Brunt, who drilled a fierce strike past the helpless Mannone.
Sunderland applied pressure at the start of the second half in search of a route back into the game, former Albion man Victor Anichebe introduced off the bench.
Pulis handed Livermore his debut soon afterwards while fellow substitute James McClean also appeared as Albion closed out the second half to claim victory.
Albion: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Nyom, Brunt; Yacob, Fletcher (c); Chadli (McClean 81), Morrison, Phillips; Rondon (Robson-Kanu 87).
Subs: Myhill; Olsson, Livermore, Leko, Field.
BOOKED: Nyom (foul, 90+2)
Sunderland: Mannone, Jones, O'Shea (c), Djilobodji, van Aanholt, Denier (Borini 78), Rodwell, Honeyman, Januzaj (Anichebe 66), Larsson, Defoe.
Subs: Mika, Love, E Robson, T Robson, Embleton.
BOOKED: Honeyman (foul, 85)
Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)