Sunday 25 January 2015

Seb Larsson's late strike rescues a point for Sunderland at the Hawthorns

Andy Hampson

Published 16/08/2014 | 15:33

Sunderland's Lee Cattermole celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 16, 2014. See PA story SOCCER West Brom. Photo credit should read: Dave Howarth/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. Maximum 45 images during a match. No video emulation or promotion as 'live'. No use in games, competitions, merchandise, betting or single club/player services. No use with unofficial audio, video, data, fixtures or club/league logos.
Sunderland's Lee Cattermole celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match at The Hawthorns

Sebastian Larsson's tucked home a late equaliser as Sunderland snatched a 2-2 draw in their Barclays Premier League opener at West Brom.

The hosts had looked like making a winning start under new boss Alan Irvine after Saido Berahino struck twice following Lee Cattermole's superb fifth-minute goal at The Hawthorns.

Sunderland may feel justice was done after Berahino's first came from a controversial penalty on 42 minutes, but West Brom, after dominating play, will rue several wasted chances.

The match pitted together two sides looking to make a fresh start after narrowly avoiding relegation last season.

Irvine, who was paraded on the pitch to good applause prior to kick-off, fielded three of his eight new signings in former Sunderland man Craig Gardner, Andre Wisdom and Sebastien Pocognoli.

Record £10million buy Brown Ideye, not yet deemed match-fit, was left on the bench.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal leaves the pitch after his teams 2-1 defeat against Swansea City
WBA player Saido Berahino converts his penalty past Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney reacts after a missed free kick against Swansea City
Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny (left) celebrates scoring their first goal of the game with team-mate Calum Chambers
Referee Neil Swarbrick sprays vanishing spray as Sebastian Larsson of Sunderland prepares to take a free
Kyle Naughton of Spurs reacts after receiving a red card for handball
Rory Mcilroy greets the Manchester United mascot during the half time
Sunderland player Seb Larsson celebrates
Kasper Schmeichel of Leicester City celebrates the goal scored by Chris Wood
Match referee Jon Moss reacts as foam sprays out from its canister
Everton's Aiden McGeady (R) scores a goal against Leicester City
Aiden McGeady (R) celebrates with team-mate Steven Pienaar
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney scores a bicycle kick against Swansea
Hull City manager Steve Bruce (left) and Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp
Swansea City's Ki Sung-Yeung (L) celebrates with team mates Jonjo Shelvey (C) and Neil Taylor after scoring a goal against Manchester United
Match referee Mike Dean sprays a free kick line
Aston Villa's Paul Lambert and Roy Keane
Mauricio Pochettino the Spurs manager celebrates his team's goal
Andreas Weimann of Aston Villa celebrates
Eric Dier celebrates with Harry Kane after scoring the winning goal

Sunderland gave a start to their headline summer signing Jack Rodwell and also gave a debut to Patrick van Aanholt.

At first it seemed West Brom had settled the better, enjoying some good early possession, but it was Sunderland who showed the first flash of brilliance through Cattermole.

The midfielder collected the ball 25 yards out from Jonas Olsson's headed clearance, steadied himself and unleashed a powerful shot into the top corner which Ben Foster could only get fingertips to.

West Brom were not rocked by the setback and soon settled back into a rhythm which could bode well for the season.

They pieced together some slick moves and utilised the holding-up ability of Victor Anichebe well, although they were initially restricted to long-range efforts.

Captain Chris Brunt went close with a good effort that curled narrowly wide and Pocognoli hit another crisp strike, although Vito Mannone was unconcerned as it drifted wide.

Mannone looked more worried when Berahino found space, but lashed into the side-netting.

Sunderland could have doubled their lead against the run of play when Larsson floated a free-kick into the box, but Valentin Roberge headed a clear-cut chance wide.

The visitors were made to pay for the miss, although they could have a legitimate gripe over the penalty after Anichebe appeared to go down at the slightest hint of a shirt-pull from Roberge.

Referee Neil Swarbrick blew instantly, but stoked the tension by taking a few moments to indicate his decision.

When given the go-ahead, Berahino made no mistake with a well-taken spot-kick.

 

Sunderland lost their composure in the minutes that followed and Berahino benefited from some sloppy defending on a strong run, but Mannone got himself behind his shot.

The visitors survived a scare early in the second half as Mannone flapped and Craig Dawson thought he had forced the ball over the line, but the flag was raised for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Sunderland then started to show some spirit and created chances for Connor Wickham, who volleyed wide, and Steven Fletcher, whose header was ruled out for offside.

It proved a short-lived flurry from Sunderland and the Baggies claimed the lead after 74 minutes.

Mannone saved well from Graham Dorrans' long-range strike, but the ball stayed in play and Gardner was the quickest to react, quickly whipping in high cross to the far post.

Sunderland were still back-tracking and Berahino got ahead of Van Aanholt to tap home his second, to the clear frustration of Mannone, who looked angry with the defence.

Yet the visitors were not done and produced a move almost out of keeping with much of their earlier play five minutes from time.

Jordi Gomez found Van Aanholt down the left and his cut-back was deftly diverted past Foster by Larsson from six yards out.

West Brom: Foster,Wisdom,Dawson,Olsson,Pocognoli, Dorrans (Sessegnon 84),Gardner (Yacob 84),Mulumbu, Brunt (Baird 77),Berahino,Anichebe.

Subs Not Used: Ideye,Myhill,Davidson,O'Neil. Booked: Dawson,Dorrans,Olsson.

Goals: Berahino 42 pen,74.

Sunderland: Mannone,Brown (Altidore 81),O'Shea,Roberge, Van Aanholt,Cattermole,Johnson (Buckley 73),Larsson, Rodwell (Gomez 68),Wickham,Fletcher.

Subs Not Used: Pantilimon,Bridcutt,Mavrias,Graham. Booked: Roberge. Goals: Cattermole 5,Larsson 85.

Att: 25,468 Ref:

Neil Swarbrick

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