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Saturday, November 24, 2012
ESPNsoccernet: November 25, 9:37 PM UK
West Brom in 3rd place after another win

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West Brom moved up to third place in the Premier League after Simon Mignolet's howler helped the Baggies beat Sunderland 4-2 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

The Black Cats goalkeeper gifted Shane Long the simplest of opportunities to fire into an empty net two minutes before the break when he allowed Chris Brunt's pass to squirm from his grasp.

Steve Clarke's men were already leading through Zoltan Gera's superb strike on the half-hour, and although the home side launched a fightback when Craig Gardner's 73rd-minute free-kick was deflected home, substitute Romelu Lukaku's late penalty looked to have sealed a fourth successive win for the first time in the Premier League.

Stephane Sessegnon reduced the deficit from close range with three minutes remaining. But, after Lukaku had hit the post deep in stoppage time, fellow substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune made sure at the death.

Asked if West Brom could mount a sustained assault on the big guns, West Brom boss Steve Clarke insisted he was looking only as far ahead as Wednesday night's trip to Swansea.

"I don't know. I don't know is the honest answer," he said. "All I know is up until now, we have done very well. We have had a lot of plaudits and the players deserve it because so far, we have been a really good team. But you don't get carried away in the Premier League. We are still this side of Christmas, there are a lot of games to be played, a lot of points to be fought for."

Also Saturday, Jordi Gomez's hat trick spared Ali Al Habsi's blushes as Wigan overcame Reading 3-2.

Sean Morrison's first goal for the Royals -- a fine header into the top corner from Nicky Shorey's cross -- had earned the visitors an interval lead at the DW Stadium.

But Gomez equalized 13 minutes into the second period, lashing high into the net after his initial low effort from substitute Franco Di Santo's cross had been parried by Adam Federici, and then grabbed a second 10 minutes later with a superb diving header from Jean Beausejour's cross.

Ten minutes from time, Hal Robson-Kanu's blocked shot looped high into the air and Al Habsi -- seemingly expecting to be put under more pressure than he was -- fumbled the ball under his crossbar and looked on helplessly as it trickled over the line.

However, Gomez was not done, and swept home from Arouna Kone's pass in stoppage time to complete his treble.

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez hopes Jordi Gomez has answered his critics.

"It's not just the three goals, he always shows for the ball, he had another two great opportunities," Martinez said. "The crowd were too vocal against him and I hope that today they realise that the only thing Jordi does is give his life for Wigan Athletic and to win football games. I hope we all realise that and he gets a bit of warmth the next time he's on the pitch."

There was also late drama at Goodison Park, where Sebastien Bassong's 90th-minute diving header from Javier Garrido's free kick earned Norwich a point in a 1-1 draw with Everton.

Steven Naismith had given the Toffees a 12th-minute lead.

When asked if his side deserved the point, Norwich boss Chris Hughton said: "I thought we did. Over the 90 minutes we had a long time to get back in the game. From our standards of late, we conceded a very soft goal and in that first half we didn't keep the ball well enough. Everton were the better team over that first 45 minutes. But when you are 1-0 down, you have to chase it and ask a little bit more of the players. I think we got that."

Charlie Adam's 26th-minute goal secured Stoke a 1-0 win against Fulham at the Britannia Stadium. The Scotland midfielder was the beneficiary of the knockdown after Peter Crouch comfortably beat Philippe Senderos in the air.

Even with the win, Stoke boss Tony Pulis was disappointed his side could not convert the chances they had to put themselves "out of sight."

"I'm really disappointed we have not won the game by more goals," he said. "Even just looking at the first half, if you look at the chances, Robert has missed a point-blank header from a corner and Ryan hits the bar when he is almost under the goal. There were some great opportunities and in the second half we had more."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.




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