West Brom moved up to third in the Premier League after beating Sunderland 4-2 at the Stadium of Light.
The Baggies have enjoyed a superb start to the season and another accomplished display brought their fourth successive Premier League win – the first time they’ve achieved such a feat in the top-flight since 1980.
For Martin O’Neill the problems continue to mount on Wearside as his side failed to build on last weeks impressive away victory at Fulham last Sunday, although he will feel the Black Cats deserved more for their efforts in bright first half.
Stephane Sessegnon, who scored a stunning goal at Craven Cottage last week, looked the most likely candidate to break the deadlock in the opening stages but was kept out on two occasions by Albion keeper Boaz Myhill.
It wasn’t until the half hour mark that first blood was drawn as the visitors took the lead against the run of play. Adam Johnson sacrificed possession to Peter Odemwingie and he played in Zoltan Gera, who composed himself before lashing a superb 20-yard drive into the top corner.
And right on the stroke of half time a horrendous error from Simon Mignolet gifted West Brom a second, the Belgian keeper allowing a routine loose ball to slip from his grasp, with Shane Long taking full advantage to tap into an empty net. Sunderland struggled to create much after the break as the away side looked prepared to sit on their lead, but they were handed a lifeline in the 73rd minute as substitute Craig Gardner saw his deflected free kick sail into the top corner.
But eight minutes later Clarkes men restored their two goal advantage as Romelu Lukaku confidently scored from the penalty spot after Johnson had fouled Liam Ridgewell. That wasn’t the end of the drama as the home side gave themselves more hope of snatching a point, Sessegnon slamming home from two-yards after Myhill kept out Steven Fletchers header.
Sadly there would be no comeback and Marc Antoine-Fortune came off the bench to wrap up the win, calmly slotting the ball past Mignolet after being fed by Lukaku to leave West Brom just two points off the top.