Sunderland 2 West Bom 0 match report: Fabio Borini strikes to help Sunderland complete miracle escape

To have won four games and drawn one in their last five is a run that has stunned everyone - and helped them secure their Premier League status

the stadium of light

Sunderland will start next season in the Premier League. Not until around half past nine tonight has it felt safe to say that since August, when the first whistle blew, with an ounce of conviction.

For the best part of 10 months, this football club has fluttered its eyelashes at catastrophe. As recently as 27 April they were bottom of the Premier League. A manager (Paolo Di Canio) has been sacked (after a player revolt). A director of football (Roberto de Fanti) has gone following a shambolic summer recruitment drive. They have fielded an ineligible player (Ji Dong-won) and gone on runs where they have not won for 10 games.

And yet tonight, by the time Jack Colback and Fabio Borini, on loan from Liverpool, had both scored against an uninterested West Bromwich Albion in the 31st minute, they were safe.

The Sunderland manager, Gus Poyet, has carried a heavy load since he stepped into the void left by Di Canio's departure. Some of that weight lifted off his shoulders with the first goal in the 13th minute. Poyet punched the air in delight. Sunderland were on their way to victory and they did not disappoint their fans.

To have won four games and drawn one in their last five is a run that has stunned everyone.

With two minutes remaining, a ground with 45,000 in it rose to its feet. There was disbelief but the elated fans clapped and waved scarves. Sunderland may have lost the battle for the Capital One Cup final in March, but they have won the war for their survival. Now it looks certain that Norwich City will be relegated to the Championship. Norwich, third from bottom, trail West Bromwich by three points, but Albion have a vastly better goal difference – a 17-goal swing in their favour.

Sunderland fans enjoy the miracle escape (AP) Sunderland fans enjoy the miracle escape (AP)
Sunderland were all but safe by half-time. Nothing has been simple in this chaotic season of cup runs and dire Premier League form. The recent run to safety has come from nowhere. Less than a month ago, a Wes Brown own goal at home to Everton in a 1-0 defeat appeared to spell the end. Sunderland were bottom then. Since then, they have been unstoppable.

After a run that saw Sunderland beat Chelsea and Manchester United and draw at Manchester City, West Bromwich have never threatened to offer a pin to pop the Wearside bubble.

With just 13 minutes gone, Marcos Alonso broke down the left and crossed into the heart of the visitors' penalty area, where the lack of desire among the defenders allowed midfielder Colback to charge in and fire his side ahead.

By the time Sebastian Larsson clipped a clever pass to the Italian Borini eight yards from the West Bromwich goal just past the half hour mark, the confidence and determination of the home side was such that the forward ignored the possibility of being flattened by goalkeeper Ben Foster to volley in a sublime second goal.

West Bromwich showed a degree more urgency in the second half, but that was not saying much.

Albion's Stéphane Sessègnon, the former Sunderland forward, dragged two shots wide when he should have done better. His side's season was saved on Saturday. Sunderland's fight finished in glory. Quite how no one really knows.

Man of the match Borini

Match rating 7/10

Referee L Mason (Greater Manchester) Att 45,181.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
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

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum