West Bromwich Albion 2-2 Sunderland
- Berahino brace not enough to seal win for new boss Irvine
- Stunning Cattermole strike fires Sunderland ahead
- Anichebe wins contentious penalty for Baggies' opener
- Larsson rescues late point for Black Cats
Saido Berahino's brace was not enough to earn new West Brom boss Alan Irvine a debut victory in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the Hawthorns.
Lee Cattermole's fine long-range effort gave the visitors a fifth-minute lead.
Berahino levelled just before the break after referee Neil Swarbrick ruled Valentin Roberge's tangle with Victor Anichebe merited a penalty.
Berahino's volley looked to have won it for the hosts but Sebastian Larsson levelled with five minutes remaining.
The hosts named three new signings in their starting XI, with Andre Wisdom, Sebastien Pocognoli and Sunderland old boy Craig Gardner all selected, but the new-look Baggies were soon on the back foot.
Cattermole slid in on Berahino to snuff out an early chance for the hosts and within moments the Sunderland midfielder was making an impact at the other end of the pitch.
West Brom failed to convincingly clear Wes Brown's header back from a free-kick and when the ball came to Cattermole he took a touch before sending a superb strike into the top-right corner from 25 yards.
Sunderland, who handed first starts to Jack Rodwell and Patrick van Aanholt, had lost on their last five visits to the Hawthorns, scoring just one goal, but those statistics were clearly not weighing on their minds as they contained the hosts after going ahead.
A couple of corners around the midway point of the half hinted at a growing threat from the hosts and on 24 minutes last season's top scorer Berahino worked a yard of space in the box but fired wide.
Sunderland's last meeting with West Brom, a 2-0 win in the penultimate match of last season, secured their top-flight status, completing a run of 13 points from a possible 15.
They almost took a giant stride to securing another three on 31 minutes when Roberge nodded inches wide from Larsson's free-kick.
Chris Brunt crashed a trademark strike just wide and Gardner forced an athletic tip-over by Vito Mannone as the Baggies pushed forward.
The pressure told on 42 minutes when Berahino tucked his penalty low into the left corner after Anichebe rolled Roberge in the box and went down under what was adjudged by the referee to be a pull, although the contact appeared to be minimal.
Irvine, recruited over the summer as the replacement for Pepe Mel, almost saw his side hit the front early in the second half as Craig Dawson's header - which was hacked off the line but shown to have gone in by the Goal Decision System - was disallowed for a soft foul on Mannone.
Sunderland also had a goal ruled out after the break, Stephen Fletcher a yard offside when he nodded home from Wes Brown's flick-on.
The game remained balanced before West Brom went ahead with 16 minutes left.
Mannone did well to keep out Graham Dorrans' initial shot, but when the rebound came to Gardner the former Black Cat lifted a fine cross to the back post where Berahino arrived on cue to volley home.
That looked to be good enough for the Baggies to kick off the season with a win but there was a late sting in the tail as Van Aanholt pulled the ball back from the dead ball line and Larsson did the rest.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet on West Brom's penalty:
"I don't want to get in trouble. I'm very disappointed that this happened in the first league game of the season. We are not playing football to give soft decisions.
"Everyone in the stadium thought it was stopping to give a yellow card to Anichebe. I don't know what happened. It's not the way I wanted to start the league, talking about referees again. I want to talk about football."
West Brom head coach Alan Irvine:
"It was a soft penalty. I've got to say I didn't look at the referee straight away looking for a penalty.
"We came back from being an early goal down to a fantastic strike. I'm pleased about that, pleased about a lot of aspects of our performance.
"Everybody around the club is telling me there's a different feel around the club. We're still working on the things we believe are important and I think we'll get better as the season goes on."
- 25DawsonBooked at 10mins
- 3OlssonBooked at 32mins
- 17DorransBooked at 30minsSubstituted forSessegnonat 84'minutes
- 8GardnerSubstituted forYacobat 84'minutes
- 11BruntSubstituted forBairdat 77'minutes
- 5BrownSubstituted forAltidoreat 81'minutes
- 29RobergeBooked at 42mins
- 3van Aanholt
- 11JohnsonSubstituted forBuckleyat 73'minutes
- 8RodwellSubstituted forJordi Gómezat 68'minutes
- 14Jordi Gómez
- Neil Swarbrick
- Shots on Target