In Sam Allardyce's first match as Black Cats manager, Saido Berahino spoiled the party as Tony Pulis' Albion side arrested a two-game losing streak.
The only goal of the fairly dour contest came in the 54th minute when Black Cats goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon spilled Chris Brunt's left-wing cross with Berahino back heeling the ball out of the hands of the Romanian and then firing home into an empty net.
The match was also sparked a fracas at the final whistle when former Sunderland winger James McClean incited the visiting fans by celebrating in front of them after helping the Baggies to a vital victory.
The three points has Albion sitting 12th on the table with 11 points while Sunderland dropped to rock bottom after a sixth loss in nine fixtures this term.
- West Brom still struggling for goals but are difficult to score against. If they can find form at the attacking end of the pitch, can they produce a top-half finish?
- An improvement under Allardyce but a massive error cost the team. Can 'Big Sam' turn things around on Wearside?
Great to get our first home win today! Time to build on this #GodWinpic.twitter.com/QdTLaJlhH2
— Saido Berahino (@SBerahino) October 17, 2015
Great win today, lads were excellent, fans were excellent have a great weekend baggies fans
— James McClean (@JamesMcC14) October 17, 2015
Very frustrating result today! thank you to our away fans that make us feel home! Great support! back to NE and bring on THE Derby!
— Fabio Borini (@borinifabio29) October 17, 2015
West Brom's Pulis on the importance of the win:
"It was a tough game. The good thing for us was getting a result after the Everton match when we were 2-0 up and then conceded three goals in the last 20 minutes, which was a real kick in the stomach.
"For confidence as much as anything else it was important to come and win here."
Sunderland boss Allardyce on what's ahead:
"All they have to do is carry on from five times before, they have been in this position before. The last five games they have played Newcastle they have won.
"They didn't look like conceding a goal today which is a great platform for us to build on."
*Thanks to Opta
76% - 13 of Saido Berahino's 17 Premier League goals for WBA since the start of last season have come at the Hawthorns (76%). Poached.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2015
Goals - Saido Berahino 3
Assists - James Morrison 2
Clean sheets - Boaz Myhill 5
Yellow cards - Claudio Yacob 4
Goals - Jermain Defoe, Steven Fletcher, Jeremain Lens 2
Assists - Jeremain Lens, Yann M'Vila 2
Yellow cards - Billy Jones, Sebastian Coates, Jeremain Lens 4
Red cards - Younes Kaboul, Jeremain Lens 1