West Brom 1-2 Sunderland: Black Cats keep their play-off dream alive

West Brom 1-2 Sunderland: Dennis Cirkin scores twice as Black Cats come from behind after John Swift’s penalty to keep their play-off dream alive

  • Sunderland climbed into the Championship top six with their comeback
  • John Swift’s late first-half penalty gave Albion the lead at the midway point
  • Dennis Cirkin then found the net twice after the break to turn it around  

Left-back Dennis Cirkin scored twice to put Sunderland back into the Sky Bet Championship play-off zone with a comeback win over West Bromwich Albion.

The 21-year-old’s second-half brace ended the Baggies’ 12-match unbeaten home league record after John Swift’s penalty had put the hosts ahead immediately before half-time.

But it was a real end-to-end affair, especially in the second half and West Brom could have had another two penalties to the one they converted.

West Brom, backed by a noisy crowd, made the early inroads.

Jed Wallace crossed low into the box but Jayson Molumby mis-kicked at the near post and Sunderland cleared their lines.

Dennis Cirkin of Sunderland celebrates after scoring his second goal against West Brom

Cirkin netted twice as his his side came from behind to seal victory at the Hawthorns

Albion fans called for a penalty soon after when Molumby went sprawling after being caught by a challenge from Abdoullah Ba but referee John Busby was unmoved.

It was Sunderland however who created the first chance when Joe Gelhardt’s volley was deflected over the bar off Molumby following a corner.

Albion were gifted a chance in the 35th minute.

A poor pass out of defence by Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson missed its target and instead went straight to Wallace, but he couldn’t react quickly enough and the ball rolled past him.

For all their possession, West Brom had failed to threaten and Karlan Grant had their first attempt in the 38th minute but his shot was so wayward it almost went for a throw-in.

Sunderland went desperately close to taking the lead soon after.

The victory means the Black Cats are now back in the Championship’s top six 

Gelhardt cut in from the left and his curling shot was heading for goal until goalkeeper Alex Palmer stuck out a hand to tip it wide at full stretch.

The visitors threatened again but Amad Diallo’s 25-yard drive sailed just wide.

The game turned in the 45th minute. Albion took the lead after Luke O’Nien brought down Swift just inside the box for a clear penalty.

Swift stepped up and calmly rolled the spot kick low down the middle, comfortably beating Patterson, who dived left.

In an electric start to the second half, Albion had shots from five different players blocked in the same attack before Sunderland equalised.

Molumby, Grant, Conor Townsend, Darnell Furlong and Swift were all denied in quick succession.

Then Cirkin headed Sunderland level after Lynden Gooch somehow squeezed in a cross despite the close attentions of Townsend and Grant. It was Cirkin’s second goal in three games.

The home side went close when Townsend’s firm header was pushed over the bar by Patterson from Swift’s corner.

Sunderland went close when Daniel Neil’s drive was pushed away by Palmer and Gelhardt rolled the rebound just wide.

Albion had the ball in the net when Okay Yokuslu smashed home a volley but the assistant’s flag had gone up after the ball went out of play.

Cirkin grabbed his and Sunderland’s second goal in the 84th minute.

The left back controlled and finished neatly all in one movement after substitutes Edouard Michut and Alex Pritchard combined.

Albion had yet another penalty appeal rejected for a push on Townsend as he headed wide, before substitute Taylor Gardner-Hickman twice fired wide and Mo Faal shot straight at Patterson.

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