Liam Cullen gave Swansea’s caretaker boss Alan Sheehan the perfect New Year’s gift as he scored the only goal in a home win over West Brom in atrocious conditions.

After a 5-0 drubbing at Southampton on Boxing Day and a 2-2 draw at Coventry three days later, it was a return to winning ways for the west Wales club thanks to Cullen’s 55th-minute strike.

The home side, still managerless after the departure of Michael Duff last month, made a solid start but despite many passes and much probing could not find a way through the Albion defensive lines.

Chances were few and far between in the first half, with Conor Townsend’s rasping shot from the left edge of the box after a wonderful through ball from Cedric Kipre forcing Carl Rushworth to stretch full length and tip the ball away for a corner in the 20th minute.

Swansea’s first chance fell to Cullen after a cross from the left by Josh Tymon but his header was saved before Jay Fulton’s first-time shot sailed wide.

The visitors should have replied soon after when Fulton gave the ball away and Brandon Thomas-Asante picked up the pieces and drove deep into the home half before crossing for Jayson Molumby to head over.

The impressive Tom Fellows then set-up Thomas-Asante for a clear run on goal with a brilliant turn and lay-off pass but he could only strike the ball straight at Rushworth.

Swansea must have had a stern half-time lecture from Sheehan because they were a side transformed after the break, moving the ball more quickly and were far more direct.

That caught Albion on the hop and Jamie Paterson’s volley from a cross from Charlie Patino was blocked.

Jut before the goal, a Paterson free-kick from the right was headed goalwards by Harry Darling and it took a brilliant reflex save from Alex Palmer to keep it out.

But the Swans now had real momentum and a Tymon cross from the left into the path of Jamal Lowe allowed him to force another good save out of Palmer.

From the corner, the ball was headed clear, only to be pumped back into the box by home skipper Matt Grimes. Darling rose high to head the ball down and Cullen was on hand to sweep the ball past Palmer.

Tymon then hit the right hand post with a chip shot before the visitors mounted pressure at the other end to try to rescue a point.

Leeds manager Daniel Farke insisted his side should have had a penalty after losing more ground in the battle for automatic promotion from the Championship with a 1-0 defeat at West Brom.

Farke was frustrated at referee Graham Scott’s refusal to award a spot-kick for a challenge by Baggies defender Cedric Kipre on Wilfried Gnonto in the 30th minute as Leeds suffered a second successive loss for the first time this season.

Seven minutes later, Grady Diangana scored the only goal to make it back-to-back home wins for the Baggies and move them to within three points of fourth-placed Leeds.

“Why should he go down when he’s one against one with the goalkeeper?” said Farke.

“I think the whole stadium saw the situation but they decided not to give us a penalty.

“Normally if that had been a penalty, it would also have been a red card.

“There was no intention to play the ball so it was a decisive moment in the game.

“It changed so much against a side who was so focused on defending.”

Diangana’s goal came off his knee after his first attempt was blocked by Joe Rodon after Okay Yokuslu split the Leeds defence for Jed Wallace to cross.

Despite having 63 per cent possession, Leeds failed to seriously test goalkeeper Alex Palmer and Farke admitted his team lacked a cutting edge.

“We started well, but the last two or three per cent brutality to get the shot away was not there – that’s why we lost,” said Farke.

“We changed our base formation and brought on offensive players, they brought all their defensive players on and showed great commitment to block our strikes.

“We needed that last few per cent brutality to win those headers or to shoot after a really tidy first touch to get the shot away.”

West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan saluted a “special” performance from his side.

“It was special in terms of the commitment the players put into the game,” he said.

“We knew that to beat Leeds you can only have these special wins if you have a lot of good players, if you’re a very strong team and you play with a lot of team mentality, team spirit and personality.

“We found good possibilities to cross from our right side with Jed Wallace, and from one of these actions, we scored.

“The second half started balanced, but then they changed formation and were very aggressive with a lot of attacking players and we had to adapt our shape and to defend the goal we scored.”

On Leeds’ claims for a penalty, Corberan added: “I don’t know because I haven’t seen the action back yet.

“But Leeds have some of the best players in the last third of the pitch and normally they want to challenge your defenders a lot.”

Leeds’ hopes of automatic promotion from the Championship suffered another blow as they were beaten 1-0 by West Brom at the Hawthorns.

Grady Diangana’s 37th-minute goal was enough to give former Leeds coach Carlos Corberan back-to-back home wins and inflict a second consecutive loss on Daniel Farke’s side, who have won one of their last five games and trail second-placed Ipswich by nine points.

And they did little to suggest they could come back from Diangana’s fifth goal of the season as they failed to test West Brom goalkeeper Alex Palmer.

But they were perhaps unfortunate not to win a 30th-minute penalty for Cedric Kipre’s challenge on Wilfried Gnonto.

Leeds settled quicker and had the ball in the net in the 16th minute when Sam Byram swept home Joel Piroe’s cross on the volley, but the full-back had strayed a yard offside.

West Brom were denied the opening goal in the 23rd minute with their first serious attack.

Djed Spence cleared Kipre’s low volley off the line from Alex Mowatt’s corner before Okay Yokuslu lifted the loose ball over the bar.

Yokuslu then had some defending to do as he blocked Gnonto’s shot at the other end.

Leeds were denied what could have been a spot-kick – with Italy forward Gnonto was at the centre of the action.

Ethan Ampadu chipped the ball forward and Gnonto was on to it in a flash only for Kipre to grab him around the waist. The 20-year-old fell to the ground as he shaped to shoot, but referee Graham Scott waved play on.

West Brom punished the visitors by taking the lead in the 37th minute.

Spotting the intelligent run of Jed Wallace, Yokuslu split the defence for the Baggies captain to slide the ball across goal, and although Diangana’s first shot was blocked by Joe Rodon, his second attempt flew into the net.

West Brom started the second half brighter but they had a let-off from a free-kick when Rodon glanced a header well over the crossbar with Palmer committing himself but failing to make contact.

Leeds wasted a half chance when Gnonto ballooned a loose ball high and wide from 25 yards after Spence’s cross was blocked.

Within seconds Spence’s replacement Jaidon Anthony had the chance to equalise but he could not keep his effort down.

Yokuslu was in the right place again defensively when he nodded away Crysencio Summerville’s curling shot.

The Baggies went close to a second goal when John Swift picked out the run of fellow substitute Adam Reach, whose attempted lob forced a falling save from Leeds goalkeeper Karl Darlow.

Norwich head coach David Wagner admitted he would be having words with Borja Sainz, whose early red card potentially cost his side in the 1-0 Championship defeat against West Brom at The Hawthorns.

Winger Sainz was sent off in the 34th minute for two bookable offences within five minutes – the second for a needless dissent – after twice going close to giving the Canaries the lead.

Brandon Thomas-Asante’s 50th-minute goal sealed the points for the Baggies, who cemented their place of fifth in the table

“When you’re on a booking, you can’t ask for another yellow,” said Wagner, whose side lost their five-match unbeaten run as a result.

“Everyone knows this – this rule has not been since yesterday and this rule exists all over the world.

“So it’s something you can’t do, especially if you’ve been booked and this is why – even if it’s a harsh decision – it was the correct decision and there is no one to blame but Borja himself.

“I have to speak with him and I will do, for sure, but officially and not in public.

“If he takes what’s right out of this situation – and I’ll make sure he takes what’s right – it will be another step in his progression.

“We’ll support him but it’s my job to speak about the truth as well.”

Wagner stopped short of saying the dismissal cost Norwich the game, but it made for a change of plan at half-time.

“On one side, yes it changed the game and cost us the game, but on the other side, it doesn’t mean that you are automatically not without an chance,” he added.

“I said at half-time: ‘Is it difficult? Yes, super difficult. Is it possible? It is, so let’s go for it’.”

West Brom wasted chances galore before Thomas-Asante’s winner, with John Swift missing six openings, including hitting the post and missing a kick in front of goal.

But Norwich could have snatched an equaliser but for goalkeeper Alex Palmer keeping out substitute Ui-Jo Hwang’s shot in the 77th minute.

West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan felt his side were on top, regardless of the sending off.

“The result was fair, from the way the game was going against 11 players and the way it went when we were against 10,” he said.

“I know the group wanted to take responsibility when they think something hasn’t gone well and we never want to make excuses.”

Thomas-Asante has now eclipsed his Albion tally of seven goals last season and Corberan felt the striker was back to his best.

“I wanted to see a reaction from the previous game because in the last game, I didn’t see his real level,” he added. “Today I saw him competing much better.

“I think sometimes – depending on the context of the game – it switches towards the advantages of one player.

“He’s not good at every single thing, but the important thing for him is to know what type of striker he is and play with the maximum mentality that he needs to play with.”

Brandon Thomas-Asante eased dominant West Brom back to winning ways with a 1-0 Championship victory over 10-man Norwich after the visitors had Borja Sainz needlessly sent off in the first half at The Hawthorns.

Thomas-Asante grabbed the all-important goal in the 50th minute to cement West Brom’s position of fifth in the table.

But Norwich were forced to play almost an hour with 10 men after the Spanish winger was dismissed for two bookable offences, the second one dissent.

Carlos Corberan’s side were good value for their second win in six as they created chances galore – virtually all from man of the match Jed Wallace – with John Swift hitting the post.

West Brom dominated the first half-hour and should have been comfortably in the lead.

Swift was the chief culprit, missing no fewer than six openings of various difficulty.

Two early hopeful long-range shots from the former Reading forward flew high and wide before he volleyed against the woodwork from Wallace’s inviting cross on the run.

Swift then sent a floating header high and wide from Okay Yokuslu’s cross before the 28-year-old missed his kick in front of goal after Wallace teed him up again.

The game appeared to swing even more towards Albion when Sainz’s dramatic five minutes started with a 30th-minute booking for bringing down Grady Diangana.

Swift’s dipping shot from 30 yards was tipped away by goalkeeper Angus Gunn before Sainz’s shot was saved by Alex Palmer.

Within 60 seconds, Sainz hooked the ball inches wide after Jonathan Rowe got a faint touch to flick on a long throw-in.

But the Spaniard picked up a second yellow card – for dissent in the 34th minute – to leave his team a man down.

The hosts returned to the attack and Thomas-Asante sent a shot on the turn straight at Gunn.

Norwich head coach David Wagner clearly had defence on his mind as he replaced striker Ashley Barnes and winger Rowe with centre-backs Grant Hanley and Danny Batth at half-time.

But it made little difference as Thomas-Asante finally broke the deadlock.

The striker scrambled home his eighth goal of the season from two yards out after Diangana headed Wallace’s cross goalwards.

It remained one-way traffic and efforts from Diangana, Swift’s chip and Darnell Furlong all went wide, all three chances from Wallace’s assists.

But Palmer had to be alert and he made a vital one-handed save from substitute Ui-Jo Hwang to keep Albion’s lead intact.

Michael Carrick praised his players for not getting distracted by their Carabao Cup exploits as Middlesbrough rounded off an impressive week with a deserved 1-0 win over West Brom.

Boro beat Port Vale in midweek to reach the last four of the League Cup for the first time since winning the competition 20 seasons ago and have a two-legged tie with Chelsea to look forward to in the new year.

But Carrick is determined to ensure league form does not suffer and was delighted after his side’s victory over Albion as Boro closed the gap on the Championship’s top six to three points.

“Naturally after Tuesday and the highs and the draw and people talking about Chelsea, I thought our mentality was top quality to reset and start again and put a top performance in,” Carrick said after Morgan Rogers’ first-half goal secured a third successive win in all competitions.

“There was so much to take from it. It was a proper performance and a proper win.

“It’s been an excellent week and for different reasons. The battling performance at Swansea wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win. The boys showed plenty of courage to do that.

“The performance in midweek was totally different. It was a different environment and a very good performance for what we needed on that occasion.

“And then today, I felt we showed a bit of all sorts against a really good team. The boys will take a lot from it, I’m sure.”

Rogers, a summer signing from Manchester City, has played most of his football as a substitute so far for Boro this season but was handed a start after impressing and scoring against Port Vale in midweek.

He scored the winner against Albion five minutes before half-time and created a string of opportunities after the break as Boro pushed for more goals.

Carrick said: “He creates, he’s dangerous. He’s a huge talent. He’s fantastic to work with, he wants to learn and get better all the time and is desperate to give what he can for the team which is brilliant.

“He’s got a terrific attitude for the game and is showing his quality.

“You can see he’s growing here, he’s at home here and belongs here and you can see him growing all the time.”

West Brom remain fifth in the table but have now won just one of their last five games.

Boss Carlos Corberan had no complaints about the outcome at the Riverside.

He said: “I think the result was fair. I saw Middlesbrough in general were better than us. The early stages were balanced and we had a couple of possibilities to score a goal, but they made us defend deeper and found a way to attack us.

“When we did break their press we couldn’t create something. In the second half we needed to be more aggressive but couldn’t find the energy.

“Little by little Middlesbrough found a way to move us deeper. In the second half it was clear we needed to react and be more aggressive, but we lost the ball too often and they were comfortable defending against us.

“I like how Middlesbrough attack and defend. They will be fighting for the play-off positions because they have a very good squad with a very good coach.”

Middlesbrough moved to within three points of the Championship play-off places with a deserved 1-0 win over West Brom at the Riverside.

Morgan Rogers scored the only goal as Boro followed their midweek Carabao Cup quarter-final success at Port Vale with a third straight win in all competitions.

Albion remain fifth, but Carlos Corberan’s side have now won just one of their last five league games and were second best throughout on Teesside, despite the fact Boro’s squad have been decimated by injury in recent weeks.

Michael Carrick was forced to name a team without a recognised striker after Emmanuel Latte Lath was forced off at Port Vale and Josh Coburn was only deemed fit enough for the bench, but their forward line still caused the Baggies problems.

Isaiah Jones had a glorious early chance when he was played in by Rogers, only to be denied by the feet of Alex Palmer.

Jones broke in behind again after 15 minutes and was fouled by last man Cedric Kipre, but referee James Linington opted for a yellow card rather than a red, to the fury of the home players and fans.

The Baggies almost took full advantage of that stroke of good fortune.

First Kyle Bartley’s header from a corner clipped the outside of a post and, after Albion kept the move alive, fellow defender Darnell Furlong forced a superb point-blank save from back-up Boro goalkeeper Tom Glover, in for the injured Seny Dieng.

Even without a striker Boro looked threatening throughout the opening period and got themselves in front with a really well-worked goal five minutes before half-time.

Midfielder Dan Barlaser picked out Lukas Engel with a defence-splitting pass and the left-back crossed first time for Rogers, who calmly found the bottom corner.

Boro thought they had got off to the perfect start in the second half when Rav van den Berg had the ball in the net, but the defender was offside and the goal ruled out.

Albion saw a lot more of the ball in the early stages of the second period, but their probing failed to result in any clear-cut chances.

It was Boro who still looked the more threatening and Rogers was denied a second goal just after the hour mark when Palmer somehow kept out a close-range effort, tipping the ball on to a post.

Rogers was pulling the strings for Boro.

He teed up Sam Greenwood for what looked like a certain goal, but the Leeds loanee somehow fired over from six yards out.

The 21-year-old then set Jones away down the right, with Palmer again coming to Albion’s rescue.

West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan was frustrated as Stoke held his side to a 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw at the Hawthorns.

The Baggies had to settle for a point against their managerless visitors, who frustrated their hosts.

Lynden Gooch gave Stoke a surprise lead after 12 minutes when his cross looped over Alex Palmer and into the net.

Brandon Thomas-Asante restored parity after 35 minutes but, despite their pressure throughout the match, a winner for West Brom was not forthcoming.

Corberan wanted more from his attacking players.

“It was not the best game we have played at home, but we did more things than the opponent to win the game,” Corberan said.

“I think we did not achieve the win because the keeper was doing his job and making very good saves.

“What you need to do is to create more; there were possibilities we should have used more times to attack more.

“It was not difficult to progress on the sides, we did not progress with determination.

“For me we should have created more from every single winger that was playing on the pitch.”

Corberan felt his side should have won the game even without the attacking options of Matt Phillips and John Swift to call upon.

“If we conceded a goal at home it is going to be a difficult match, today is true they did not find a way to create a chance and one bad cross went into the net,” Corberan added.

“Today all that I can feel is that we should have created more opportunities.

“We were creating some good opportunities in the last 10 minutes of the game, so with the players that we have we can win that game.

“I don’t think we didn’t win today because we didn’t have them.”

Stoke caretaker manager Paul Gallagher was pleased with a point on the road, despite their winless run now stretching to eight league matches.

“We knew coming to West Brom would be a tough game, they’re a very experienced team at this level with a really good manager who has them well organised and well coached,” said Gallagher.

“I thought the game plan we put together to frustrate them worked, we could hear some jeers from around the stadium.

“We take the point and move on.”

Gallagher praised the performance of goalkeeper Jack Bonham, who made a series of saves to preserve a point for Stoke.

“I thought today they played like a real team, people putting their body on the line for the team, and I thought Jack made two superb saves,” Gallagher commented.

“To take two points out of the last two games and be unbeaten is a positive.”

West Brom missed the chance to close in on the top four as managerless Stoke earned a 1-1 Sky Bet Championship draw at the Hawthorns.

Lynden Gooch gave Stoke a surprise lead after 12 minutes before the hosts’ pressure paid and Brandon Thomas-Asante equalised in the 35th minute.

West Brom move up to fifth in the table with the point, but relegation threatened Stoke will be the happier of the two sides.

Stoke remain without a win in eight league matches but move three points above the drop zone.

The hosts seemed in control of the match from the start and Grady Diangana created the first chance.

The winger advanced to the by-line and crossed to the back post, finding Jeremy Sarmiento whose speculative effort flew high over the crossbar.

However, a cross from Gooch sailed over the head of goalkeeper Alex Palmer and into the back of the net, via the underside of the crossbar, to give the visitors an early lead

Ryan Mmaee had a chance to double the lead just minutes later, but his shot deflected off Kyle Bartley and a foot wide of a post.

West Brom continued to dominate possession but were frustrated by the Potters’ resolute defence.

Then, a moment of quality from Sarmineto required Jack Bonham to make an excellent fingertip save and it spurred the Baggies back into life.

Alex Mowatt’s corner was headed over by Cedric Kipre, albeit under the close attention of a defender and goalkeeper.

Thomas-Asante found West Brom’s equaliser after 35 minutes, striking a fine volley into the bottom corner of the net after Darnell Furlong did well to keep the ball in play.

Furlong pulled it back to Okay Yokuslu whose shot was blocked on the line, but the ball fell kindly to Thomas-Asante to level the scores.

Stoke continued to set up to frustrate after the break and the hosts were struggling to create any chances of note.

However, Jed Wallace’s curling goalbound effort was diverted off target by the head of Michael Rose.

Rose also made a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Tom Fellows when the substitute was bearing down on goal and ready to shoot.

Josh Laurent came close twice to restoring Stoke’s lead, firstly when his shot deflected off Kipre and narrowly wide before shooting a good chance over the crossbar.

Thomas-Asante had the chance to win it for the Baggies late on, but Bonham reacted well to his effort.

The goalkeeper then pushed over Pipa’s close-range shot to preserve a point for Stoke.

Rotherham’s new head coach Leam Richardson said he knows the size of the challenge he has taken on following their 2-0 defeat to West Brom.

Second-half goals from Grady Diangana and Jed Wallace were the difference as the Millers’ winless run extended to nine games stretching back to October.

Richardson, who was officially appointed on Monday to replace Matt Taylor, is looking forward to the challenge but is under no illusions as to the size of the task facing rock-bottom Rotherham.

He said: “It is exactly the same challenge as I thought it was when I came in. It’s one of the top leagues in Europe. West Brom will be right up there.

“They have had two shots on target and they have both gone in. We are in a really challenging league.

“The first goal was a mistake and a technical error, which happens. We won’t dwell on it. We have a group of staff and players who want to get better.

“The work was already done (before this match). You can only commend the effort and endeavour out there.

“There are always areas where we want to improve. Collectively we can get better.

“I have only been here minutes so it’s important that you listen and don’t only talk.

“We are where we are. We don’t look at the past.

“I’ve got ideas about how I want to play. That won’t happen overnight. It will also take one or two transfer windows.”

Early chances fell for both sides, with Darnell Furlong poking wide from a West Brom corner and then Jordan Hugill heading straight at Alex Palmer.

But the game settled into a lull leading into the break with neither goalkeeper remotely troubled.

West Brom badly needed to inject some life into their attacks in the second period and one paid off after 54 minutes.

Jayson Molumby’s cross was only partially cleared by Dexter Lembikisa and Diangana took full advantage with his low shot deflected beyond the grasp of keeper Viktor Johansson.

The Baggies then sealed the points in the final minute with Wallace’s perfect free-kick from the edge of the box.

West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan was pleased to see his side bounce back from successive losses.

He said: “I knew how tough this game would be in its competitiveness.

“We knew they would play long balls to create individual duels and challenges. We needed to be strong on the set-pieces. They are strong and they have the size.

“I watched Leeds’ game here when they drew and Swansea won here by one goal against 10 men for 70 minutes. I knew how uncomfortable the game would be.

“I think what’s important is that the team found better solutions from the situation.”

West Brom got back to winning ways with two second-half strikes proving to be the difference in a 2-0 triumph at Rotherham.

The Baggies had suffered back-to-back defeats heading into this game but Grady Diangana’s deflected strike and Jed Wallace’s perfect free-kick ensured a very welcome three points for Carlos Corberan’s side.

Rotherham welcomed new head coach Leam Richardson but they remain winless since October – a nine-game streak which has seen them drop to the foot of the Championship.

The first chance of the game fell the way of the visitors, with a low corner from Alex Mowatt finding its way through to Darnell Furlong who poked wide at the near post.

Rotherham’s first opening came through the recalled Jordan Hugill but his floated header from Ollie Rathbone’s free-kick was easily gathered by Alex Palmer.

That was as good as it got for the remainder of the half as West Brom kept the ball well but did very little with it.

The visitors finally showed some adventure early in the second half with a mazy dribble from skipper Conor Townsend leading to a cross to Jayson Molumby, but he miscued his volley off target.

They went in front on 54 minutes when a cross from Molumby was cleared hastily by Dexter Lembikisa and only as far as Diangana, whose low effort took a deflection to wrong-foot keeper Viktor Johansson.

Rotherham tried to respond quickly but Arvin Appiah lashed way off target after finding space around the edge of the box.

The visitors almost fashioned another chance through a succession of Furlong’s long throws and then substitute Wallace whipped in a dangerous cross which had to be cleared to safety.

Richardson looked to his bench with the hopes of mustering a chance for a leveller in the closing stages.

The Millers’ record signing Sam Nombe joined Hugill up front but it was Hakeem Odoffin who almost got on the end of a whipped cross from the right wing.

Rathbone also delivered a dangerous ball from a free-kick and it was almost met by Nombe’s head before it drifted out to safety at the back post.

West Brom made sure of the points in the 90th minute with Wallace curling in an inch-perfect free-kick from the edge of the box.

Tom Eaves looked to grab a consolation for Rotherham in added time but his header from Lembikisa’s cross was blocked by former Miller Semi Ajayi.

Interim boss Mike Dodds expects to still be in charge of Sunderland for Tuesday’s visit of Leeds after guiding the Black Cats to a 2-1 win over West Brom.

Dodds was handed the head coach role on a temporary basis after Tony Mowbray was sacked earlier this week and got off to the perfect start as the hosts brought a three-game winless run to an end.

The interview process for a new head coach is under way but Dodds does not expect an appointment to be made in the coming days.

“As far as I’m aware I’m in charge on Tuesday, nobody has told me otherwise,” said Dodds.

“I will stick to my plan until someone else tells me otherwise.”

Dan Ballard and Dan Neil scored Sunderland’s second-half goals against the Baggies, who halved the deficit through substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante late on but couldn’t force an equaliser.

Dodds said: “I’m a perfectionist and I want to have complete control of the game, I didn’t like elements of the first half where they had too much control of the ball, albeit without hurting us too much.

“I think they played through us and our shape a little too much. The second half I think is a Sunderland team regardless of who is in charge: youthful, on the front foot, turning the game into 1-v-1 both attacking and defending, being brave in and out of possession; the second half for me is a Sunderland team.”

With Sunderland’s four strikers still without a goal this season, Dodds opted to play midfielder Jobe Bellingham up-front against West Brom and the teenager had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside in the first half.

“I had the privilege of coaching him from a very young age and I watched him playing as a striker pretty much up until the under-14s,” said Dodds, who worked with both Bellingham brothers at Birmingham.

“It wasn’t until he got a bit older that his position changed.

“I’m not saying he’s a number nine, just that he’s a player who has a knack of breaking into the box and who can naturally find space in the box.

“The reality is that for an 18-year-old, with a bit of luck he could have almost double figures to his name this season. We’ll see what Tuesday brings but as I’ve said before, the reality is I could play him anywhere on the pitch and he’d perform.”

West Brom have now lost two games on the bounce and boss Carlos Corberan was frustrated with his side’s display on Wearside.

He said: “We didn’t perform to the best level we have as a team. I know the quality of the players Sunderland have.

“After the mistake that led to the Sunderland goal that was disallowed, it created a lot of doubt in ourselves.

“From that moment, Sunderland attacked more and we defended more. We created problems for ourselves.”

Corberan handed Josh Maja his first start of the season but the former Sunderland striker was forced off injured in the first half.

Corberan said: “It’s unfair for him. He had eight weeks out of the team. In the last three weeks he’s come back and the first time I put him in the first XI, he gets another injury from a foul.”

Mike Dodds enjoyed a winning start as interim Sunderland boss after two second-half goals fired the Black Cats to a deserved 2-1 victory over West Brom.

Defender Dan Ballard broke the deadlock in the 69th minute before Dan Neil doubled Sunderland’s lead and looked to have wrapped up the points six minutes from time.

West Brom hit back through substitute Brandon Thomas-Asante in the 86th minute but Sunderland held out and brought a three-game winless run to an end as Dodds – who was put in caretaker charge after Tony Mowbray’s sacking on Monday – got off to the perfect start.

The victory lifted the Black Cats briefly back into the top six ahead of the 3pm kick-offs, while for Albion it was a second successive defeat after last week’s loss at home to leaders Leicester.

Sunderland made a confident start and would have been a goal up inside 15 minutes had Jobe Bellingham’s close-range rebound not been wrongly ruled out for onside.

Bellingham – starting up front for the Black Cats in the week his older brother Jude described him as a “thoroughbred striker” – was on hand to tap into an empty net after Alex Palmer could only parry Adil Aouchiche’s strike. The assistant’s flag was raised but replays showed the 18-year-old was clearly onside.

Undeterred, Sunderland remained on the front foot and had a strong penalty shout waved away when Patrick Roberts hit the deck after a weaving run from the right.

West Brom grew into the game and although they did not manage a shot on target in the opening 45 minutes, they finished the first period on top, despite the frustration of losing striker Josh Maja.

Making his first return to Sunderland since leaving the Black Cats four years ago and his first start of the season for the Baggies, Maja’s afternoon was cut short after Ballard’s heavy tackle 10 minutes before the interval.

Sunderland were the better team in the early stages of the second half and came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock 12 minutes after the restart.

After good build-up play from Roberts on the right, Aouchiche’s strike from inside the box crashed back off the post before Jack Clarke’s rebound was superbly saved by Palmer.

Dodds turned to his bench, introducing Alex Pritchard in place of Aouchiche, and the change worked a treat. It was substitute Pritchard who swung in the 70th minute free-kick for Ballard to head home.

Pritchard was again involved in the second goal, setting Neil away, with the midfielder keeping his cool and lifting the ball over Palmer.

Albion responded and two substitutes combined as Thomas-Asante headed in Pipa’s cross from the left. Jeremy Sarmiento had a penalty claim waved away deep in stoppage time.

Leicester manager Enzo Maresca said it was “unbelievable” his team were given less time to recover than opponents West Brom despite beating them 2-1 in a dramatic late finish.

The Foxes briefly extended their lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship to four points after Harry Winks scored a stoppage-time winner to cancel out substitute Josh Maja’s 89th-minute equaliser.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall put Leicester in front after 72 minutes before unselfishly opting to set up Winks four minutes into time added on.

“It was a very difficult game because of them and because when you play Wednesday night and Saturday lunchtime it’s not easy, and they played Tuesday night, so they had 24 hours more to recover the energy,” said Maresca.

“For me it’s unbelievable when you play Wednesday night and Saturday – both teams have to play together (at the same time), not one on Tuesday and one on Wednesday because the difference is huge.”

Maresca claimed some of his players were tired during the game.

“Wilfred (Ndidi) came back from a long-term injury, we gave him some rest on Wednesday night but you could see he wasn’t fresh,” added the Italian.

“Wout Faes did a big effort to be there, and Jannik (Vestergaard), JJ (James Justin) the same.”

Dewsbury-Hall was Leicester’s standout player after scoring his sixth goal of the season and setting up the other, but Maresca wants more from him.

“In terms of goals, he is where he has to be, but with assists I’m not happy, because this one was quite easy,” he said. “He has to improve his last pass because he’s had many chances.”

Leicester led in the 72nd minute when Dewsbury-Hall headed home Ndidi’s cross.

Albion equalised in the 89th minute when Faes headed away Darnell Furlong’s throw-in and, when the ball came back in, Cedric Kipre helped it on and the grounded Ricardo Pereira could only tee up Maja to net his first Albion goal.

For the winner, Leicester broke following a long Albion throw-in and Kelechi Iheanacho found Dewsbury-Hall, who dribbled 40 yards before drawing Alex Palmer and slipping in Winks.

West Brom head coach Carlos Corberan admitted he had no regrets at going for broke instead of settling for a draw after the equaliser.

“We weren’t trying to defend the result – we were attacking how I think you need to attack, but prior to the throw-in we should have defended more calmly, not as aggressive so as not to give them the option to score,” he said.

“We attacked how we always attack. Sometimes to change something is negative.

“If I told my centre-backs not to go up (to join the attack), having scored a goal two minutes ago, at home, I’d have regretted this.

“There are many small aspects to correct – not just because we lost, but to not suffer transitions against opponents.

“The next time we have a throw-in, we must be prepared to not only try to score, but to try to score without the risk of suffering the transition.

“In the 93rd minute, sometimes you make mistakes because of the emotion, not even the emotion to attack, but the emotion to recover the ball, to help your team and to try to make a foul, to keep running.

“We are humans, this is why football is magic. These things happen.”

Harry Winks scored a last-gasp winner as Sky Bet Championship leaders Leicester beat West Brom 2-1 in a dramatic finish to give manager Enzo Maresca a winning first return to The Hawthorns.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall’s 72nd-minute header – his sixth goal of the season – gave Leicester the lead and the midfielder then set up Winks in the fourth minute of stoppage time after substitute Josh Maja looked like he had rescued a point.

Maresca, who started his professional career at West Brom and played 47 games there between 1998-2000, will have been relieved as there was little between the teams, who both hit the goal frame in the first half.

West Brom had a penalty claim turned down when Grady Diangana went down after it appeared he was pushed over in the box; VAR might have intervened if it was available.

Albion then failed to react quickly enough when goalkeeper Mads Hermansen played a poor pass out and it was intercepted, Brandon Thomas-Asante eventually having a shot blocked.

The home side went even closer in the 25th minute when Cedric Kipre stabbed against a post with the goalkeeper beaten after Matt Phillips’s corner had flicked off a couple of heads.

But Leicester returned fire to hit the goal frame themselves when Kelechi Iheanacho’s low angled drive was deflected onto the near post by Darnell Furlong’s lunge.

It looked like things might open up after the break when Diangana’s curling shot was deflected over the bar off Wout Faes.

But instead it became very scrappy, with both teams guilty of giving the ball away in midfield and defences remained on top.

That almost changed when Wilfred Ndidi got on the end of a cross from substitute Abdul Fatawu, but his flicked header under pressure lacked the power to beat Alex Palmer, who fumbled before the ball was cleared.

The Ndidi-Fatawu link-up combined again to devastating effect in the 72nd minute.

Fatawu spotted Ndidi’s run beyond the Albion midfield in the inside right position and the latter crossed for Dewsbury-Hall to nod the ball home ahead of Furlong from six yards out.

Albion equalised in very scrappy fashion. Furlong’s throw-in was headed away by Faes and, when the ball came back in, Kipre helped it on – a grounded Leicester defender could only tee up Maja to prod home his first goal since February 2022.

But Leicester hit Albion on the counter when they broke on a long throw-in and Iheanacho passed from inside his own half to Dewsbury-Hall, who ran 40 yards with the ball before drawing Palmer and slipping in Winks for an open goal.

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