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Alan Irvine: Penalty was debatable

West Bromwich Albion boss Alan Irvine said his side may have been fortunate with the penalty that brought their first goal in the 2-2 draw at home to Sunderland.

The Black Cats saw their early lead, provided by Lee Cattermole, cancelled out at The Hawthorns when Valentin Roberge was adjudged to have brought down Victor Anichebe.

Replays suggested just the slightest of shirt pulls, but Saido Berahino made no mistake from the spot and later grabbed a second to leave Sunderland needing a late Sebastian Larsson equaliser to earn a point.

Irvine said: "It was soft. I didn't immediately jump up saying it was a penalty. Had he not given it I probably wouldn't have made too much of it either."

However, he said he did feel that Sunderland had their share of luck on occasions.

Early in the second half, West Brom appeared to force the ball over the line in a goalmouth scramble -- but a flag had been raised for a foul on goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

Irvine said: "I think that is open to interpretation as well, a bit like the penalty was. We also conceded a free-kick which led to the build-up to the second goal which, again, is open to interpretation.

"But the referee has to make a decision. He has done that, and I am sure some people will feel he has made the right decisions and some will feel he has made the wrong ones. It is a hard job."

Irvine, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Preston manager who was a surprise choice to succeed Pepe Mel, admitted to having mixed feelings afterwards, saying: "Last year I'm told we didn't come back from going behind, so that was really pleasing. It was a great response by the lads.

"I hoped and expected that we would stay in front, and was disappointed with the nature of the goal and the fact we did concede it."

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