Ten-man West Brom’s Championship play-off charge was dented as Sunderland won 1-0 at The Hawthorns.

Pierre Ekwah netted the winner after connecting first time with a Callum Styles corner at the end of the first half.

That immediately followed West Brom forward Brandon Thomas-Asante’s 43rd-minute red card for two bookable offences, the first Albion player to be sent off of Carlos Corberan’s 16-month reign.

The defeat left the Baggies fifth, seven points clear of seventh-placed Hull, who had a game in hand.

Sunderland centre-half Dan Ballard, whose foul on West Brom striker Josh Maja in the reverse fixture at the Stadium Of Light back in December ruled the striker out for four months, was booed by the home crowd with his every touch.

West Brom began with a greater tempo than their visitors, who had played out two goalless draws prior to this.

Sunderland captain Luke O’Nien was required to nod behind a teasing delivery from Albion winger Mikey Johnston before Nathaniel Chalobah tested his luck from outside of the penalty area with a dipping effort which goalkeeper Anthony Patterson claimed at the second attempt.

The real first-half drama unfolded in the final few minutes leading up to the break.

Thomas-Asante was late when he caught Jack Clarke and was appropriately booked by referee Matthew Donohue.

The man in the middle reached for his pocket a minute later when the Albion striker took a heavy touch and, in attempting to retrieve the ball, cleaned out Ballard. Thomas-Asante was duly given his marching orders.

Things got worse for the hosts in first half stoppage time. Styles took a corner from the left and Ekwah, near the penalty spot, was left unmarked and was able to stylishly steer the ball into the top corner, well beyond the reach of Alex Palmer, to the delight of the strong away following.

Sunderland returned with more of a swagger to their play against their depleted opponents.

Midfielder Dan Neil was teed up by Chris Rigg on the edge of the penalty area and he stung the palms of Palmer, who had to help the ball over the bar.

John Swift bent a shot just wide of Patterson’s far post from the edge of the area, but Sunderland themselves came close to killing the game as a contest when Styles cut inside from the left and arrowed a curling shot wide of the outstretching Palmer’s far post.

For West Brom, there was a lack of potency following Thomas-Asante’s dismissal and the Black Cats claimed just their second victory in 12 league matches, ending Albion’s 10-match unbeaten run.

A blistering start helped Portsmouth secure a 3-2 win over Barnsley at Oakwell that sent them top of Sky Bet League One.

Colby Bishop, Paddy Lane and Connor Ogilvie gave the Blues a dream start before second-half strikes from Barry Cotter and Callum Styles led to a tense finish.

Gavin Whyte had already seen a first-minute effort deflected wide and Bishop had headed over the bar before Pompey were awarded an eighth-minute penalty.

Lane beat two players before feeding the ball to Northern Ireland winger Whyte on the right and Bishop’s attempt to convert his low centre saw him fouled by Barnsley keeper Liam Roberts.

Bishop converted the spot-kick and 30 seconds later the visitors doubled their lead when the former Accrington striker’s flick-on found Lane and he calmly finished.

Ogilvie added the third when he headed home Joe Morrell’s cross from the right after 16 minutes.

Having failed to mount an attack of note before the break, Barnsley pulled one back just four minutes after the restart when half-time substitute Sam Cosgrove found Cotter, who drilled a low finish past Will Norris.

The hosts scored again with 13 minutes left when Norris fumbled Callum Styles’ header and the ball trickled over the line but despite a spell of late pressure they could not find an equaliser.

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