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West Brom 1 Tottenham 1: McClean header earns point for Pulis´ men

Tottenham extended their unbeaten run to 14 Premier League matches but missed out on all three points as West Brom came from behind to avoid defeat for the third successive game, securing a hard-fought 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

Dele Alli put Tottenham in front with a sharp run and tidy first-time finish from Toby Alderweireld’s long ball after Salomon Rondon had missed a great early chance to open the scoring.

West Brom were level before half-time when smooth passing led to Darren Fletcher picking out James McClean with a cross, the winger heading home his first Premier League goal for the club.

Chances were rare at both ends in difficult conditions with defences well on top for most of the game and neither team able to force a deciding goal.

Hugo Lloris made a top-class save from Jonas Olsson’s point-blank header late on as the hosts sought to record what would have been only their third home win of the season.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino recalled Alli after the 19-year-old had served a one-match ban, with the teenager replacing the injured Ryan Mason, while Tony Pulis continued to leave Saido Berahino, the subject of considerable interest from Tottenham in the off-season, on the bench.

Despite early Spurs pressure the first chance fell to the hosts on six minutes. Rondon chased down a long ball from James Morrison and got in front of Jan Vertonghen, but the Venezuela striker shot off target with his left foot.

The returning Alli put the visitors in front on 14 minutes. Alderweireld split Olsson and Gareth McAuley with a ball over the top and Alli poked a volley through Boaz Myhill’s legs for his third Premier League goal of the season.

West Brom wasted numerous set-pieces as Pulis’ men tried to get back on level terms before the break, with Tottenham seeking to equal the 14-game unbeaten top flight run they achieved in 1985. 

The finest move of the match saw the Baggies equalise on 37 minutes. Flowing passing fed Stephane Sessegnon, Fletcher got in behind and McClean powered in the header.

Craig Dawson and McAuley made terrific interventions to deny Tottenham early in the second half as West Brom’s resolute defence held firm, before Danny Rose had to make a superb last-ditch challenge to stop Craig Gardner playing in Rondon.

Tottenham were looking more likely to find a winning goal and Moussa Dembele should have done better with a well-worked opening from 20 yards, but the midfielder went for placement over power and Myhill made a comfortable low save.

With just 15 minutes to go Lloris preserved Tottenham’s point with a wonderful save. West Brom kept a set-piece alive and Olsson turned the ball toward goal but the France international made a brilliant stop to keep the scores level.

Lloris was called into action again three minutes later as Rondon shot from 20 yards out, but the goalkeeper saved easily.

Next up for West Brom is a daunting match away to Liverpool, while Tottenham are at home to Newcastle next weekend.

Sat 5 Dec, 2015
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