Sam Allardyce starts his Sunderland reign away to West Bromwich Albion today, with points desperately required to kick-start the Black Cats’ fight for Premier League survival.
The Red and Whites have managed just a single point in their last six matches at The Hawthorns, but here we look back at several West Brom-Sunderland games which were ones to savour for Wearside fans.
WBA 3 Sunderland 3: April 13, 1998
Sunderland recovered brilliantly from an awful start to take a point at West Brom to maintain their promotion push in Division One - and were denied a win by Lee Hughes’s 89th-minute leveller.
Hughes and future Sunderland winger Kevin Kilbane netted after two and 11 minutes to put Albion in command, but Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips levelled matters by the 28th minute of this Easter Monday cracker.
Despite Michael Gray’s red card before half-time, Quinn then fired Sunderland ahead five minutes into the second half, but Peter Reid’s second-placed men were stunned when Hughes equalised a minute from time.
The loss of two points proved crucial as Sunderland slipped to a third-place finish, and eventual defeat in the play-off final to Charlton on penalties.
WBA: Adamson, McDermott, Van Blerk, Flynn, Beesley (Murphy), Carbon, Quinn, Nicol, Hunt (Sneekes), Hughes, Kilbane
SUNDERLAND: Perez, Makin, Gray, Clark (Rae), Holloway (Craddock), Williams, Summerbee, Ball, Quinn (Dichio), Phillips, Johnston
WBA 2 Sunderland 3: October 18, 1998
Lee Hughes threatened to hand Sunderland their first defeat of the season in Division One, but Peter Reid men, on course for a 105-point title-wining campaign, showed their mettle to turn around a two-goal deficit.
Hughes, who scored twice in the previous meeting at The Hawthorns six months earlier, netted after 26 and 34 minutes to put the Red and Whites on the backfoot.
Free-scoring Sunderland took time to find their feet, but defender Andy Melville threw them a lifeline midway through the second half, then sub Michael Bridges equalised on 80 minutes before Kevin Ball hit a dramatic 86th-minute winner to give the visitors all three points and end a run of three successive draws.
WBA: Miller, McDermott, Van Blerk, Flynn, Murphy, Carbon, De Freitas (Mardon), Bortolazzi (Sneekes), Quinn, Hughes, Kilbane
SUNDERLAND: Sorensen, Makin, Gray (Craddock), Ball, Melville, Butler, Summerbee, Rae, Quinn, Dichio (Bridges), Johnston (Mullin)
WBA 2 Sunderland 2: August 16, 2014
Sunderland started the new season with a point from an entertaining game at The Hawthorns, scoring early and late in a 2-2 draw.
Lee Cattermole’s campaign began in blistering fashion as he drove home a magnificent 25-yarder into the top corner of the net after just five minutes.
Young striker Saido Berahino levelled three minutes before the break after referee Neil Swarbrick awarded a penalty to the home side following Valentin Roberge’s challenge on Victor Anichebe, a disputed award.
Berahino volleyed home a second for Albion, from a cross by ex-Sunderland midfielder Craig Gardner, with 15 minutes to go, but Gus Poyet’s Sunderland side, who had an effort from Steven Fletcher earlier chalked off for offside, deservedly secured their draw five minutes from the end when Seb Larsson levelled from a Patrick van Aanholt cutback.
Jack Rodwell and van Aanholt made their debuts, as did subs Will Buckley and Jordi Gomez.
WBA: Foster, Wisdom, Pocognoli, Dawson, Olsson, Gardner (Yacob), Mulumbu, Dorrans (Sessegnon), Berahino, Anichebe, Brunt (Baird)
SUNDERLAND: Mannone, Brown (Altidore), van Aanholt, Roberge, O’Shea, Cattermole, Larsson, Rodwell (Gomez), Fletcher, Wickham, Johnson (Buckley)
WBA 1 Sunderland 2: March 3, 2007
Sunderland withstood a strong West Brom fightback to maintain fourth place in the Championship.
Roy Keane’s side made it 10 league games unbeaten with a typically spirited display, ending Albion’s eight-match undefeated run.
Veteran midfielder Dwight Yorke made the breakthrough on 23 minuyes, side footing his shot past keeper Dean Kiely after a neat flick from striker Stern John.
John increased the visitors’ lead early in the second half, heading home an inswinging Dean Whitehead corner.
Former Sunderland loanee Darren Carter, on as a sub, replied from the edge of the box as Albion - who had ex-Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips in their starting linet-up - responded, but the dismissal of left-back Paul Robinson scuppered their chances of a point.
WBA: Kiely, McShane, Robinson, Davies, Clement, Chaplow, Koumas, Koren (Gera), Kamara, Phillips (MacDonald), Greening (Carter)
SUNDERLAND: Ward, Simpson, Collins, Nosworthy, Evans, Whitehead, Edward (Hysen), Yorke (Miller), John (Murphy), Connolly, Stokes
WBA 2 Sunderland 3: April 24, 1982
Sunderland climbed to 16th place in Division One, their highest position since September, after edging home in an open game at The Hawthorns.
Albion star Ally Brown gave the home side a ninth-minute lead as they looked to repeat their 2-1 success at Roker Park earlier in the season, but two goals in five minutes turned the game around, with Stan Cummins levelling on 19 minutes and Nick Pickering putting Sunderland in front.
Gary Owen’s penalty hauled Albion level early in the second period, but Gary Rowell proved to be the matchwinner, firing Sunderland’s decisive third goal on 66 minutes, steering the Rokermen towards safety with a fourth win in an unbeaten six-game run.
WBA: Grew, Batson, Statham, A Brown, Wile, Bennett, Zondervan, King, Regis, Owen, MacKenzie (Monaghan)
SUNDERLAND: Turner, Hinnigan, Munro, Hindmarch, Chisholm, Elliott, Buckley, West, Rowell, Pickering, Cummins
WBA 2 Sunderland 3: April 30, 1977
Sunderland took a big step towards potential survival by completing a memorable First Division double over West Brom.
Having thrashed Albion 6-1 at Roker Park two months earlier, and being on a six-game unbeaten run, Jimmy Adamson’s Red and Whites were in confident mood heading to The Hawthorns.
Their bright start paid off with a sixth-minute opener from Tony Towers, only for wing star Laurie Cunningham to level for Johnny Giles’ men on 19 minutes.
Bob Lee restored the visitors’ lead on the half hour, only for West Brom striker David Cross to quickly level, but Towers’ second goal, a penalty on the hour mark, ensured both points headed back to Roker Park.
Three points from the final three games, though, proved not to be enough as Sunderland slipped to relegation in controversial fashion.
WBA: Osborne, Mulligan, Statham, T Brown, Wile, Robertson, Martin, Cunningham, Cross, Giles, Johnston
SUNDERLAND: Siddall, Docherty, Bolton, Arnott, Waldron, Ashurst, Towers, Elliott, Holden, Lee, Rowell