Kane double and Eriksen undo Baggies
ALBION tasted their first defeat of Tony Pulis’s tenure following a 3-0 reverse against Tottenham at The Hawthorns.
Two goals inside the opening 15 minutes from in-form duo Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane, with their 11th and 19th goals of the season respectively, did the early damage.
The Baggies were denied a route back into the game as Hugo Lloris made two superb saves to deny James Morrison and Claudio Yacob, before Craig Dawson headed against the crossbar.
A second-half penalty from Kane, after Joleon Lescott had been penalised for handball, sent Spurs three goals to the good, ensuring there was no way back for the Throstles.
It meant Albion experienced defeat for the first time under head coach Pulis in what was his fifth match at the helm.
Callum McManaman was handed his debut following his arrival from Wigan for an undisclosed fee earlier this week.
Meanwhile highly-rated goalkeeper and Academy graduate Jack Rose, who celebrated his 20th birthday, was named on the bench after Boaz Myhill failed to recover from a hand injury.
But Albion got off to a nightmare start as they found themselves two-nil down inside the opening 15 minutes.
Spurs’ opener arrived after just six minutes, Eriksen curling a 25-yard free-kick over Albion’s wall and into the net after Yacob had brought down Mousa Dembele.
Matters went from bad to worse just nine minutes later and Dembele was once again in the thick of it, feeding Kane, who stepped inside Andre Wisdom and drilled an effort past Ben Foster.
Lloris produced a superb save to tip over Morrison’s goalbound effort in the 27th minute, Lescott heading narrowly over from the resulting corner.
And the France international ‘keeper was at it again soon after with an even better save to thwart Yacob following a well-worked free-kick.
Lloris was finally beaten in the 38th minute but the woodwork came to the visitors’ rescue as Dawson’s header bounced back off the bar from Morrison’s set-piece.
A half-time performance the Kansas City Chiefs cheerleaders, ahead of Sunday's NFL Super Bowl, warmed up those present on a bitterly cold afternoon in the midlands.
Shortly after the interval Eriksen sent a fizzing effort narrowly off target before Pulis turned to Craig Gardner and Brown Ideye for inspiration.
But Albion were three-nil down before long as Lescott, with his back to the ball, was adjudged to have handled Kyle Walker’s cross inside the penalty area and Kane stepped up to send Foster the wrong way from the spot.
Saido Berahino proved lively in attack for Albion as they continued to look for a way back, notably denied by another impressive stop by Lloris, but it was not to be the hosts' day.
Albion: Foster, Wisdom (Gardner 60’), McAuley, Dawson, Lescott, Yacob, Brunt, Morrison (Dorrans 88’), McManaman (Ideye 60’), Anichebe, Berahino.
Subs: Rose, Pocognoli, Baird, Sessegnon.
BOOKED: Berahino (dissent 55’), Yacob (foul 80’)
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Fazio, Vertonghen, Rose, Dembele (Chadli 62’), Mason (Stambouli 73’), Eriksen, Paulinho, Lamela, Kane (Soldado 88’).
Subs: Vorm, Davies, Dier, Townsend.
GOALS: Eriksen (6’), Kane (15’, pen 64’)
BOOKED: Lamela (foul 90')
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
Albion star man: Victor Anichebe