West Brom Come Back Against Spurs in Intense Draw

Baggies midfielder James McClean heads the tying goal past Spurs keeper Lloris [Getty Images]

Baggies midfielder James McClean heads the tying goal past Spurs keeper Lloris [Getty Images]

West Bromwich Albion rallied from a one goal deficit to tie Tottenham Hotspur and deny them a chance to get closer to the top 4 in the Barclays Premier League, the top flight in the UK. Spurs went up in the 15th minute courtesy of a great one-time finish from Dele Alli. However, West Brom levelled before the break in the 39th minute with a thundering header from James McClean. As the intensity of the match rose after the goals, neither side could find a winner, a fair result given the balance of play.

Before the match, West Brom had only won three of their last 11 home matches in the Premier League, and changing that seemed a daunting task in front of a good Spurs team (BBC). Tottenham was unbeaten in 13 matches leading up to this match, as they had come off a very good draw against Chelsea and had sealed their Europa League progression that same week with a win at FK Qarabag. On top of their recent form, Spurs has had a great defense in the league, conceding just 11 goals before the match, joint-2nd behind Manchester United, who had conceded one fewer with 10 (BBC).

West Brom defenders try in vain to stop Dele Alli from volleying in his 3rd goal for Spurs [Getty Images]

West Brom defenders try in vain to stop Dele Alli from volleying in his 3rd goal for Spurs [Getty Images]

Spurs started the match off playing their classic possession match in hopes of creating clear-cut opportunities. However, it was West Brom that got the first good effort from striker Salomon Rondón in the 7th minute from a counterattack. A long ball over the top to Rondón in full sprint caused him to miss from about 18 yards out because he was off balance. But 19-year-old midfielder Dele Alli, coming back in the starting lineup from suspension, provided creativity and chances at the beginning of the first half, showing his true brilliance when he volleyed Toby Alderweireld’s long ball from Spurs’ own half past West Brom keeper Boaz Myhill. Alli’s goal spurred a flame in the home team as West Brom started creating concrete chances of their own. Their perseverance came to fruition towards the end of the first half after James Morrison recovered the ball in the Spurs half, passed to Darren Fletcher on the wing, who made a great cross as Ireland-international midfielder James McClean got in front of Spurs full-back Kyle Walker to hit the ball in the back of the net with his head, leaving Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris no chance of saving it. The match picked up from that point on and both teams created solid chances, especially West Brom, applying good pressure and causing a great reflex save from Lloris in the 72nd minute and another good save from a hard Rondón shot a few minutes later. But, when both sides started making several challenges referee Jon Moss had trouble calming down the atmosphere. After refusing to give out cards in the beginning of the first half, he used two for dissent and three for fouls afterwards. Still, both sides couldn’t break the deadlock and the match duly ended in an entertaining draw.

Challenges flying in at The Hawthorns [Getty]

Challenges flying in at The Hawthorns [Getty]

The result kept West Brom’s record of never winning against Spurs in the past 11 meetings dating back to 2005, while Tottenham remained unbeaten in 14 matches, the first time for the club since 1985 (BBC). Thus, West Brom stay 13th in the league table, 9 points away from safety. Tottenham stay 5th on the other half of the table, continuing their fight for a Champions League spot for next year.

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