Sunderland ensured their Premier League status with victory over West Bromwich Albion, effectively relegating Norwich.

Jack Colback's stabbed finish and a neat Fabio Borini volley secured the win for the Black Cats, who have won four games in a row to stay up.

Jozy Altidore missed from six yards but Sunderland could not add to a lead the visitors rarely threatened to narrow.

Poyet revels in Sunderland 'miracle'

But despite losing, West Brom are three points clear of 18th placed Norwich with a vastly superior goal difference.

The Canaries must beat Arsenal on the final day, hope West Brom lose against Stoke, and manage a 17-goal swing in the process if they are to avoid slipping into the Championship for the first time since 2011.

Defeat against West Brom would have left Sunderland just two points above Norwich, but a fourth consecutive top-flight win for the first time in 14 years means they can now finish as high as 12th.

Such a finish looked unlikely when they were beaten 5-1 at Tottenham one month ago, prompting manager Gus Poyet to say his side needed a "miracle" to stay in the Premier League.

Defeat at Everton followed and left the Uruguayan's side seven points from safety, but 13 points from a possible 15 - including wins at Chelsea and Manchester United - have led to a stunning escape.

Sunderland banner

Sunderland's supporters have remembered Poyet's "we need a miracle" comment

Poyet was jubilant on the final whistle after completing an achievement he said would be the "greatest of his career"  ahead of kick-off.

His side started with purpose and vigour but dangerous crosses into the box yielded no reward before Marcos Alonso's left footed delivery saw Colback prod in the opener.

Sunderland buck Christmas trend

By beating West Brom, Sunderland become only the second Premier League team to be bottom on Christmas Day and avoid relegation, following in the footsteps of the Baggies' own escape in 2004-05.

The 24-year-old, out of contract in the summer, guided his third goal of the season right footed past Ben Foster, prompting an early celebration from Poyet on the touchline.

Borini, on loan from Liverpool, was busy and had forced an earlier tipped save from Foster before he beat the West Brom keeper with a hooked effort on the half hour mark.

The Italian has had more shots at goal than any Sunderland player this season and his enthusiasm was rewarded when he volleyed home Sebastian Larsson's delightfully flicked through ball.

The Black Cats' control of the first half laid the foundations for a win which leaves Fulham as the worst home side in the season's Premier League, while West Brom played with the intensity of a team who do not expect Norwich to produce a miracle of their own on Sunday.

West Brom lacked intensity - Mel

Aside from a curling Saido Berahino effort which forced Vito Mannone into a diving save, the visitors' threat was timid.

Since beating Sunderland in September they have only won six times, but 15 draws - the most in the top flight - look likely to prove vital in securing a fifth consecutive season in the top flight.

Early second-half improvement saw Berahino and Stephane Sessegnon fire efforts wide, before Altidore - on the field for less than five minutes - turned a glorious chance wide from six yards for the home side.

Full-back Santiago Vergini drilled wide after a flowing Sunderland attack, but the miss proved meaningless as the Black Cats became only the second team in Premier League history to be bottom on Christmas Day but survive.

For reaction from Sunderland manager Gus Poyet see here.

West Bromwich Albion manager Pepe Mel: "In the first half we played with little intensity. We were better in the second half but Sunderland beat us with that intensity.

"We have managed to keep the team up but I believe we could have done things better. Especially in today's game."

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (6)

Sunderland

  • 25 Mannone
  • 27 Vergini
  • 28 Alonso
  • 33 Cattermole (Giaccherini - 88' )
  • 16 O'Shea
  • 05 Brown
  • 07 Larsson
  • 14 Colback
  • 10 Wickham (Altidore - 61' )
  • 11 Johnson (Bridcutt - 61' )
  • 31 Borini

Substitutes

  • 02 Bardsley
  • 17 Altidore
  • 22 Ba
  • 23 Giaccherini
  • 26 Bridcutt
  • 30 Scocco
  • 32 Ustari

West Bromwich Albion

  • 01 Foster
  • 02 Reid (Dawson - 45' )
  • 11 Brunt
  • 07 Morrison
  • 23 McAuley
  • 14 Lugano
  • 38 Berahino (Vydra - 78' )
  • 05 Yacob (Mulumbu - 45' )
  • 16 Anichebe
  • 29 Sessegnon
  • 17 Dorrans

Substitutes

  • 03 Olsson
  • 10 Sinclair
  • 13 Myhill
  • 20 Vydra
  • 21 Mulumbu
  • 25 Dawson
  • 40 O'Neil
Ref: Lee Mason
Att: 45,181

Match Stats

Shots

10 13

On target

4 3

Corners

5 0

Fouls

14 12

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 0.

90:00 +3:02 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 0.

90:00 +2:31

Foul by Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion).

90:00 +2:31

Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +1:38

Attempt blocked. Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Graham Dorrans.

90:00 +0:57

Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:57

Foul by Santiago Vergini (Sunderland).

89:22

Foul by Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion).

89:22

Liam Bridcutt (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

88:50

Attempt saved. James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Graham Dorrans.

87:28 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Emanuele Giaccherini replaces Lee Cattermole because of an injury.

85:41

Offside, West Bromwich Albion. Chris Brunt tries a through ball, but Matej Vydra is caught offside.

84:19

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

83:17

Delay in match Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) because of an injury.

82:43

Attempt blocked. Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jozy Altidore.

80:16

Attempt blocked. Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

79:23

James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

79:23

Dangerous play by John O'Shea (Sunderland).

79:04

Diego Lugano (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

79:04

Foul by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

77:27 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Matej Vydra replaces Saido Berahino.

76:17

Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

76:17

Foul by Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion).

74:47

Attempt missed. Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right.

74:25

Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

74:25

Foul by Jozy Altidore (Sunderland).

70:49

Foul by Chris Brunt (West Bromwich Albion).

70:49

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

68:47

Attempt missed. Santiago Vergini (Sunderland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Fabio Borini.

68:13

Attempt blocked. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Colback.

67:34

Foul by James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion).

67:34

Liam Bridcutt (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

66:48

Attempt blocked. Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Stéphane Sessegnon.

65:53

Attempt missed. Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

65:05

Hand ball by Fabio Borini (Sunderland).

64:22

Attempt missed. Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jack Colback.

62:37

Foul by Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion).

62:37

Jozy Altidore (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

62:03

Attempt missed. Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Youssuf Mulumbu.

60:47 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Jozy Altidore replaces Connor Wickham.

60:35 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Sunderland. Liam Bridcutt replaces Adam Johnson.

59:49

Attempt missed. Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from a difficult angle and long range on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Graham Dorrans.

59:26

Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

59:26

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

58:29

Attempt saved. Youssuf Mulumbu (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Graham Dorrans.

57:26

Foul by Connor Wickham (Sunderland).

57:26

Gareth McAuley (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

56:40

Attempt missed. Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Gareth McAuley.

48:19

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

48:19

Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00

Second Half begins Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 0.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Youssuf Mulumbu replaces Claudio Yacob.

45:00 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Craig Dawson replaces Steven Reid.

45:00 +2:23 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 0.

45:00 +2:01

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Steven Reid.

44:00

Attempt saved. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Adam Johnson.

43:13

Attempt saved. Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Victor Anichebe.

41:49

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

41:49

Foul by Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion).

41:32

Attempt blocked. Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Saido Berahino.

40:41

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

40:41

Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

40:12

Attempt blocked. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box is blocked. Assisted by Adam Johnson with a cross.

40:01

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Diego Lugano.

39:38

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

38:48

Delay in match Fabio Borini (Sunderland) because of an injury.

36:29

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

36:29

Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

34:12

Attempt blocked. Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

32:36

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Chris Brunt.

31:44

Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

31:44

Foul by Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion).

30:32 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Sunderland 2, West Bromwich Albion 0. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson with a through ball.

29:07

Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:07

Foul by Victor Anichebe (West Bromwich Albion).

25:33

Attempt missed. Connor Wickham (Sunderland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jack Colback.

24:44

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:44

Foul by Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion).

23:37

Foul by Santiago Vergini (Sunderland).

23:37

Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

23:03

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Chris Brunt.

21:55

Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).

21:55

Claudio Yacob (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

17:46

Foul by Jack Colback (Sunderland).

17:46

Graham Dorrans (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

14:20

Lee Cattermole (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

14:20

Foul by James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion).

12:03 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Sunderland 1, West Bromwich Albion 0. Jack Colback (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Marcos Alonso with a cross.

9:24

Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

9:24

Foul by James Morrison (West Bromwich Albion).

7:21

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Ben Foster.

7:18

Attempt saved. Fabio Borini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.

5:19

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

5:19

Stéphane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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