London (AFP) – 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.
Albion 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.
West Brom, owned by Chinese entrepreneur Guochuan Lai, are two points from safety with only one game left as they fight to extend their eight-season stay in the Premier League.
Albion’s last game of the season is at Palace next Sunday, but they could be relegated before then.
They will go down if third-bottom Southampton win or draw at Everton later on Saturday, or if fourth-bottom Swansea beat Southampton on Tuesday.
Since replacing the sacked Alan Pardew in early April, Moore has masterminded a significant improvement in Albion’s form.
Wins at Manchester United and Newcastle, as well as a draw against Champions League finalists Liverpool, seemed too little, too late.
But Livermore’s late intervention left West Brom dreaming of an incredible escape act.
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 Premier League, 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 til 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 against 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.
“We never had enough. Since I came in the lads have given everything but we came short. It is a chance to rebuild.”
Palace’s win sealed their safety, making them the first top-flight team since Liverpool in 1899-1900 to avoid relegation despite losing their first seven matches of the season.
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.
Swansea’s loss means Southampton would climb out of the bottom three with a draw or win at Everton.
West Ham look set to avoid relegation after a 2-0 win at Leicester.
Joao Mario’s close-range finish in the 34th minute put West Ham ahead before Mark Noble’s 64th-minute strike left David Moyes’ side six points above the bottom three.
Watford beat Newcastle 2-1 at Vicarage Road to guarantee their top-flight status.
First-half goals from Roberto Pereyra and Andre Gray put Watford in control before Ayoze Perez reduced the deficit early in the second half.