English Premiership

WBA stun Spurs at the Lane

2014-09-21 17:15
Mauricio Pochettino (AFP)

London - James Morrison has headed the only goal of the game to secure West Bromwich Albion's first win of the season as they climbed off the bottom of the Premier League table with a 1-0 win away to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Scotland international Morrison's 74th-minute header at White Hart Lane eased the pressure on Baggies manager Alan Irvine and condemned Spurs to a second successive home defeat.

Yet while this result will inject some much-needed confidence into Albion's campaign, it underlined the task confronting Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino as he attempts to turn Spurs into a top four side.

A promising start to the campaign delivered four successive wins before stalling in recent weeks with Pochettino's men suffering a comprehensive 3-0 home defeat by Liverpool before claiming a point at Sunderland.

They came into this clash on the back of a scoreless draw at Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League and this result means they are now without a win in four games.

By contrast, this result represented West Brom's first win in five league games.

The pre-season appointment of Irvine provoked a muted response among Albion supporters hoping to see a higher profile manager take charge and the response to last week's home defeat by Everton confirmed the Scot had plenty of work to do to win over the doubters.

But the manager's standing will soon rise if his side can conjure more displays like this one.

Irvine was finally able to draw on the services of Joleon Lescott who made his first appearance after leaving champions Manchester City at the end of last season.

And the centre-back almost made the perfect start to his Albion career only for his goal-bound volley from a 10th-minute corner to be blocked by team-mate Craig Dawson.

Albion midfielder Craig Gardner's long-range shot drew an impressive save from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris as the visitors continued to look the more threatening of the two sides.

Tottenham had no shortage of possession and took every opportunity to press forward.

But they appeared to run out of ideas in the final third, eventually provoking former Southampton boss Pochettino to scream "wake up" at his players as half-time approached.

Emmanuel Adebayor was struggling to make an impression on the game although it took a last-ditch tackle from Lescott to deny the striker 10 minutes before the break.

More wasteful was Adebayor's failure to meet Christian Eriksen's inswing cross from the left hand flank from just six yards out when any kind of connection would almost certainly have brought the opening goal.

Spurs continued to lack fluency after the restart and France keeper Lloris was again called on to save his side, this time from the excellent Saido Berahino's swerving shot.

Pochettino had seen enough, introducing Paulinho and Roberto Soldado in an attempt to spark his side into life.

Soldado soon forced Ben Foster into action, with the West Brom keeper reacting well to gather the ball after his initial save had denied the Spaniard.

But Albion's forward moves still carried more conviction, although it was Tottenham's continuing frailties at the back that gifted the visitors the decisive goal.

Once again it was a corner, swung in from the right by Chris Brunt, that caused the problem with Erik Lamela allowing Morrison a free header from six yards out.

Irvine's reaction spoke volumes about the importance of the goal while Tottenham's limited response as they went in search of an equaliser confirmed Pochettino's side are very much a work in progress.


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