The threat to West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Irvine’s position worsened on Tuesday as West Ham United came from a goal down to win 2-1 and leave their opponents just above the relegation zone with one win in their past eight English Premier League matches.
The Hammers — whose goals came from Kevin Nolan and James Tomkins — by contrast are in fifth place having made their best ever start to a Premier League campaign and have lost just once in their past eight league games.
West Brom — whose woeful home form has seen them record just three wins in their past 22 games at The Hawthorns — broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the game when Craig Dawson rose to head home Graham Dorrans free-kick and become the first player from his side to score in the Premier League in five matches.
The hosts — who went into the game having not lost to the Hammers in their past four meetings — dominated the opening 15 minutes, but then the Londoners began to force their way back into the game.
They were prevented from leveling thanks to Ben Foster’s alertness in goal, first blocking Nolan’s shot and then getting down to save Cheikhou Kouyate’s followup.
Nolan, though, was not to be denied 10 minutes from the break as the former Newcastle United midfielder tucked the ball home after Foster had saved from Andy Carroll.
The visitors had all the momentum and it was no surprise when they took the lead. Tomkins popped up to get on the end of Stewart Downing’s cross and head into the net from close range right on the stroke of halftime.
Dawson, who had been out jumped by Tomkins for the goal, had a great chance to restore parity early in the second half. He was allowed to go forward with the ball and with no one coming to challenge him and a clear sight of goal he let fly, only for his shot to go well wide.
Irvine changed things round with about 20 minutes remaining, sending on Portugal international striker Silvestre Varela for his first taste of Premier League action since arriving on loan from Porto.
Irvine then sent on another striker in the shape of Brown Ideye, but it was another striker, Victor Anichebe, who almost grabbed a point shortly after Ideye’s introduction, but his shot was brilliantly saved by Adrian.
In Tuesday’s other matches, Swansea City manager Garry Monk hailed his side’s 2-0 victory at home to Queens Park Rangers as their “most complete performance” of the season.
The struggling Londoners held the Welsh club for 78 minutes, only for late strikes from Ki Sung-yueng and Wayne Routledge to send Monk’s side back into the top six.
It was only Ki’s second goal for Swansea and the South Korea midfielder’s first goal at the Liberty Stadium since he joined from Celtic in 2012.
Christian Benteke marked his return from suspension by scoring his first goal of the season as Aston Villa ended their nine-game winless streak with a 1-0 victory away to Crystal Palace.
The victory saw the Birmingham club move above Palace into 12th place, with Paul Lambert’s side now five points clear of the relegation zone following the success.
Belgian striker Benteke, back following a three-game ban for a red card against Tottenham Hotspur, broke the deadlock in 32nd minute at Selhurst Park when he dispossessed Palace defender Scott Dann and then surged forward before beating Eagles goalkeeper Julian Speroni with a shot into the corner.
Meanwhile, Burnley moved out of the relegation zone after stretching their unbeaten run to four matches with a 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle United.
George Boyd put the promoted side ahead with a low strike from outside the area in the 34th minute at Turf Moor, with Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse equalizing for Newcastle early in the second half.
The draw enabled Burnley to climb out of the bottom three at the expense of Hull City, who were due to visit Everton yesterday.
SWEEP THE LEG: Poirier, determined to best McGregor, after losing to him in 2014, used low calf kicks to throw ‘Notorious’ off his stand-up game, before dropping him American underdog Dustin Poirier yesterday shook up the world of mixed martial arts, beating up the legs of Irish superstar Conor McGregor before knocking him out at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. “I’m happy, but I’m not surprised. I put in the work,” Poirier said, after the referee stepped in after 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the second round to save McGregor from further damage, after he was dropped by a fierce combination of punches. The 32-year-old Poirier was ranked second in the flyweight division going into the fight, but still rated a heavy underdog by bookmakers to beat his fourth-ranked opponent,
World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
LOOKING TO REPEAT: World No. 7 Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin advanced to the round-of-16 at the Toyota Thailand Open, after winning the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday Taiwan’s world No. 7 duo yesterday eased past the US’ world No. 37 pairing at the Toyota Thailand Open to reach the round-of-16 in Bangkok. Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Phillip Chew and Ryan Chew 21-14, 21-11 in just 24 minutes. Lee and Wang, who won the men’s doubles title at the Yonex Thailand Open on Sunday, next face the world No. 34 pairing, Canada’s Jason Anthony Ho-Shue and Nyl Yakura. In men’s singles, Taiwan’s world No. 2 Chou Tien-chen again beat Thailand’s world No. 45 Suppanyu Avihingsanon, after edging past the Thai player in the opening round of the Yonex
Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,