Match Report: Romelu Lukaku steers West Bromwich Albion back to winning ways

West Bromich Albion 2 Sunderland 1

Peter Odemwingie made his first appearance as a West Bromwich Albion player since that deadline-day dash to Loftus Road but it was the player he replaced with three minutes remaining, Romelu Lukaku, who was the dominant figure at the Hawthorns yesterday.

The 19-year-old Belgian forward, below, scored both Albion goals to cap an outstanding display of pace and power and earn a deserved standing ovation – quite a contrast with the boos that followed for Odemwingie.

Lukaku’s second goal, which clinched Albion’s first home win since 22 December, offered a perfect illustration of the threat he brought all afternoon. He beat John O’Shea to a 50-50 out on the touchline and then panicked Titus Bramble into an underhit backpass. Simon Mignolet, the Sunderland goalkeeper, got there first but slammed his clearance against Lukaku and the ball flew into the net. Lucky, perhaps, but as a delighted Steve Clarke said, he had earned it.

“When you’re in a good vein of form you get a little luck,” said the West Bromwich manager. “He is a great specimen, but he’s got a good touch, quick feet for a big man.

“We’re just delighted he chose to come here and further his education,” added Clarke of the Chelsea loanee, who, with 12 League goals now, has five more than a certain Fernando Torres.

For Albion, this victory followed up a long-awaited first League win of the year at Liverpool 12 days earlier and lifted them on to 40 points. For Sunderland, by contrast, a third straight loss means they remain just five points above the relegation zone and manager Martin O’Neill cut a frustrated figure afterwards as he pointed to “a number of chances” missed and a “big decision” that went against his team when referee, Roger East, failed to see Gareth McAuley block Adam Johnson’s shot with his arm just before half-time.

Sunderland were certainly unfortunate not to make an early breakthrough when Steven Fletcher rolled a low shot against the far post. Even then they might have scored as Steven Reid’s attempted clearance deflected off Johnson back into the danger area, but Danny Graham was foiled by Ben Foster and Fletcher fired over on the follow-up.

That scare sparked Albion into life. Youssouf Mulumbu steered a free header wide and Lukaku had the ball in the net, but referee East had already whistled for a foul on James Morrison.

Then came the first key penalty decision as East ruled that Craig Gardner had handled a Liam Ridgewell cross and Lukaku duly stepped up and sent Mignolet the wrong way. East then missed McAuley’s handball, much to O’Neill frustration. “I’ve seen both back and both are penalties,” he said.

Sunderland almost responded on the restart when Mulumbu cleared Stéphane Sessègnon’s  shot off the line yet Lukaku, working well in tandem with Shane Long, remained a constant menace, with Mignolet denying him more than once – notably from a thunderous strike after he was played in by the excellent Morrison.

Eventually, in the 75th minute, Lukaku did make it two, though the contest was not over and four minutes later Sessègnon curled a shot into the top corner from 12 yards.

Cue a frantic finish in which Odemwingie flashed a shot across goal and James McClean stabbed over from close range at the other end.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Foster; Reid, McAuley, Olsson, Ridgewell; Morrison (Fortune, 84), Mulumbu, Yacob, Brunt; Lukaku (Odemwingie, 87), Long (Dorrans, 66).

Sunderland (4-4-2): Mignolet; Gardner, Bramble, O’Shea, Colback; Sessègnon, Larsson (Vaughan, 76), N’Diaye, Johnson (McClean, 76); Fletcher, Graham.

Referee: Roger East.

Man of the match: Lukaku (West Bromwich Albion) Match rating: 7/10.

News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Field of broken dreams: Andy Bell visits Passchendaele
news5 News's Andy Bell visited the killing fields of the Great War, and his ancestor - known only from his compelling war diary - came to life
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel