West Brom recorded their first home win of 2013 with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland, a win that moves the Baggies up to seventh in the Premier League table.
In a scrappy first half the Baggies took the lead through Romelu Lukaku, the Belgian converting a penalty after Craig Gardner had handled a Liam Ridgewell cross.
The striker added a second in the second half as he chased down a poor Titus Bramble back pass and Simon Mignolet’s clearance struck him and rebounded into the net, while Stephan Sessegnon struck a late consolation.
The main talking point pre-kick off was the inclusion of Peter Odemwingie on the Baggies' bench, having been left out of the Albion squad since his transfer deadline day antics.
Injuries to Lee Cattermole and Danny Rose forced Martin O’Neill into two changes with Danny Graham given his first start for Sunderland since moving from Swansea and Seb Larsson returning to the midfield.
A very slow start to the game did not help lift the temperatures inside the Hawthorns but the game into life in the 24th minute and chances began to appear at both ends of the game but somehow the deadlock was not broken.
The post denied Steven Fletcher minutes after a miss from Lukaku, the Scot was found by Graham and his measured low shot beat Ben Foster but struck the post. The rebound came back to the striker but he volleyed over the crossbar.
Luckily for West Brom their wastefulness in front of goal did not last long as Gardner, playing as a makeshift right back, handled a Liam Ridgewell cross inside the area to gift the home side the lead. Lukaku picked the ball up and blasted it past Mignolet for his 11th goal of the season.
The game descended into an unspectacular display, but a second goal was scored through Lukaku as he stole the ball from John O’Shea on the half-way line and latched onto a weak Bramble back pass, Mignolet came out to clear the ball straight at the striker and the ball flew into the net
With 11 minutes to go Sunderland grabbed themselves a lifeline through an inch-perfect Sessegnon strike from 12 yards, following up James McClean's neat play to create space for him inside the penalty area.