Football

West Brom live to fight another day

Baggies stave off relegation twice in a day - through Livermore's last-gasp goal and Everton's late equaliser against Southampton

Jake Livermore kept alive West Bromwich Albion’s slender hopes of avoiding relegation as his last-gasp strike clinched a dramatic 1-0 win over Tottenham, while Stoke were relegated after a 2-1 defeat against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

West Brom knew only three points at the Hawthorns would be enough to stave off relegation for a few hours at least.

With Darren Moore’s side just minutes away from dropping into the Championship, Livermore sparked wild celebrations when the midfielder prodded home after a goal-mouth scramble two minutes into stoppage time.

Incredibly, West Brom were on the brink of relegation again just hours later when fellow strugglers Southampton took a second-half lead through Nathan Redmond at Everton.

But, with just seconds left in stoppage time, Tom Davies’ deflected strike rescued a 1-1 draw for Everton and saved West Brom from being relegated for now.

West Brom, owned by a Chinese entrepreneur, are two points from safety with one game left as they fight to extend their eight-season stay in the English Premier League.

Albion’s last game of the season is at Palace next Sunday, but they will go down if there is a winner between third-bottom Swansea and fourth-bottom Southampton at the Liberty Stadium on Wednesday morning (Singapore time).

A draw would take the relegation battle down to the last weekend.

“We have been on this road for four, nearly five weeks. We wanted to get some pride and commitment back,” Moore said.

“Through hard work and commitment results are coming.”

Since replacing the sacked Alan Pardew in early April, Moore has masterminded a significant improvement in West Brom's form.

Wins over Manchester United, Newcastle and Tottenham, as well as a draw against Champions League finalists Liverpool, have kept them dreaming of an epic escape act.

Southampton, who had Japanese defender Maya Yoshida sent off in the 86th minute, were crushed by Davies’ late intervention.

But Mark Hughes’ side do climb out of the relegation zone, sitting above Swansea on goal difference heading into that crunch clash in midweek.

“We have a massive game coming up and that will probably determine who goes up and who goes down,” Hughes said.

“We will be ready. Swansea will know they are in a game.”

Huddersfield, two points above the bottom three, are also in trouble as they prepare to face champions Manchester City on Sunday.

Fourth-placed Tottenham’s defeat leaves them five points ahead of fifth-placed Chelsea, who can close the gap in the race to qualify for the Champions League if they beat Liverpool on Sunday.

At the bet365 Stadium, Stoke had hope of staying up when Xherdan Shaqiri scored with a 43rd-minute free-kick.

But James McArthur equalised in the 68th minute and Patrick van Aanholt slotted in Palace’s winner with four minutes left.

Paul Lambert’s side are bottom, three points from safety, with only one game remaining.

Stoke have spent 10 seasons in the EPL, but a run of 13 games without a victory ensured that streak will come to an end.

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland was in tears at the final whistle and City fans were just as emotional as the realisation of their team’s relegation sank in.

‘Tough afternoon’

Hundreds left in the closing minutes before those that remained sang “City till I die” in a defiant rallying cry.

The blame for Stoke’s predicament lies jointly with Lambert and Mark Hughes, who was sacked in January after a wretched run culminated with an embarrassing FA Cup third-round defeat by fourth-tier Coventry.

Hughes could suffer the indignity of having a role in two relegations in one season as his Southampton side are in trouble themselves.

“My emotions are up and down. It is a tough afternoon. I am feeling for everyone connected with the club,” Lambert said.

“When teams don’t get results, you can be sleep-walking into positions you don’t want to be in.”

Swansea missed a chance to boost their survival bid as Bournemouth won 1-0 at Dean Court.

Ryan Fraser blasted home with a quick free-kick from the edge of the area in the 37th minute.

Carlos Carvalhal’s side have gone seven games without a win.

West Ham won 2-0 at Leicester, while Watford beat Newcastle 2-1. – AFP

West Bromwich AlbionJake Livermore