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 Saturday, 21 December, 2002, 16:53 GMT
Phillips pegs back Baggies
Jason Koumas of WBA
Koumas put West Brom ahead in the first half
West Brom 2-2 Sunderland

Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips scored twice to rescue a point and help keep West Brom in the bottom three.

The Baggies dominated the first half and looked comfortable leading 2-0 at half-time.

Key moments
27 mins: Danny Dichio puts West Brom in front
33 mins Jason Koumas makes it 2-0 from a free-kick
56 mins: Kevin Phillips grabs a goal back for the visitors
64 mins: Phillips puts Sunderland back on level terms

But an opportunistic strike and a fine individual goal from Phillips denied the home side the three points that would have seen them climb out of the relegation zone.

Despite both sides struggling for goals, there were plenty of chances in an entertaining game that could have had more than the four goals.

Tore Andre Flo carved out the first opportunity when he cut inside and fired in a shot that beat Baggies keeper Russell Hoult but struck the post.

Gavin McCann then tried his luck from 25 yards but it was brilliantly tipped around the corner by Hoult.

Kevin Phillips' last two years have been surrounded by speculation. But he is not being sold. I might be daft - but I'm not that daft.

Howard Wilkinson

But West Brom were soon into the swing of things and a dangerous Jason Koumas free-kick caused problems for the visitors.

Neil Clement and Danny Dichio combined to find Jason Roberts, who cut inside but from the edge of the box his curled effort was well wide.

Kevin Kilbane, who was playing in a more advanced role than usual against his old side, found Phillips but his effort fell the wrong side of the post.

Andy Johnson then tried his luck with a volley from well outside the area which Sunderland stopper Jurgen Macho did well to push behind for a corner.

The home side were looking increasingly dangerous and it was little surprise when they went ahead midway through the opening half.

Gavin McCann (left) of Sunderland and Derek McInnes of WBA
Both sides had their chances at The Hawthorns

Dichio rose highest to head home from a Koumas corner after 27 minutes for his second goal of the season.

The former Sunderland frontman then got in another header from a Clement cross moments later but it looped just wide.

West Brom doubled their lead six minutes later when they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area and in front of goal and Koumas curled it past a stranded Macho.

Sunderland winger Michael Gray missed a good opportunity to pull a goal back late in the half but shot over the bar from an acute angle.

But two goals in eight minutes saw the Wearsiders back in the game.

The second goal was the worst - we let a guy who had won the Golden Boot a couple of years ago go strolling across the 18-yard line

Gary Megson

They grabbed a lifeline in the 56th minute when Phillips capitalised on a dreadful error by Sean Gregan and kept his cool to beat Hoult for his second of the season.

His third followed soon after as he cut inside and kept going before finding the corner of the net from outside the area.

Phillips was inches away from a hat-trick after good work by substitute David Bellion, while Johnson went close for West Brom as both sides searched of a winner.


West Brom: Hoult, Sigurdsson, Moore, Gregan, Balis (Adam Chambers 65), Johnson, Koumas, McInnes, Clement, Roberts (Dobie 65), Dichio.
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Wallwork, Hughes.

Booked: Johnson, Sigurdsson.

Sunderland: Macho, Wright, Babb, Craddock, McCartney (Bellion 46), McCann, Thirlwell, Kilbane, Gray, Flo, Phillips.
Subs Not Used: Ingham, Bjorklund, Stewart, Proctor.

Booked: Craddock.

Attendance: 26,703

Referee: C Wilkes (Gloucestershire).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Pat Murphy
"West Brom should be a registered charity"
 West Brom boss Gary Megson
"We weren't a Premiership team in the second half"
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