Alli’s opener is cancelled out as Spurs draw with West Brom

Tottenham’s unbeaten run in the Premier League continued but they lost the lead in their 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion.

Dele Alli put Spurs ahead after 15 minutes, volleying home from Toby Alderweireld’s pinpoint long ball, but the visitors were unable to hammer home their advantage and were pegged back six minutes before the break as James McClean headed in.

Albion looked the more likely scorers as the second half progressed and Hugo Lloris made a fine save from Jonas Olsson. However, the hosts were fortunate to avoid a red card after a nasty tackle from McClean on Mousa Dembele, while Tottenham substitute Clinton Njie was wrongly flagged offside as he ran through on goal late on.

Spurs have now gone 14 games unbeaten in the Premier League but have only won six of their 15 top-flight fixtures and have slipped three points outside the top four, and six points behind league leaders Leicester City.

There were two changes to the Spurs side that had drawn with Chelsea the previous weekend. Alli returned from suspension to replace the injured Ryan Mason and Erik Lamela got the nod ahead of Heung-Min Son on the right flank.

The first half was a poor, scrappy affair with both sides struggling to keep the ball. Albion created the first chance as Salomon Rondon ran onto a long ball behind Spurs’ back line and held off Jan Vertonghen to force his way into the box, but he blazed his shot wide.

Instead it was Spurs who took the lead from a similar route one approach after quarter of an hour. West Brom had maintained a good shape and been difficult to break down in the early stages, but they were undone as they allowed the ball to drop inside their own area.

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Alderweireld launched an excellent ball forward from just inside his own half and Alli ran between defenders Gareth McAuley and Craig Dawson to volley home from close to the penalty spot and net his fourth goal of the season for club and country.

There was little improvement in the general standard of play, from either side, but Albion eventually put a few passes together and equalised in the 39th minute.

Stephane Sessegnon played a first-time pass outside Danny Rose down the right-hand side and Darren Fletcher ran in behind Eric Dier to cross from the by-line, with McClean arriving ahead of Kyle Walker at the far post and putting a powerful header past Lloris.

The game livened up at the start of the second period. Alli lifted the ball over the top for Kane, whose scuffed shot under pressure was cleared off the line by Dawson – and at the other end, Rose made a crucial sliding challenge to stop Chris Brunt getting in on goal.

Dembele sent a weak low shot at Boaz Myhill, but Albion began to grow as a threat. Dawson headed the ball down to Olsson, who got a shot off at close range, but Lloris made a fine reflex save to deflect the ball over the bar.

The Baggies then chipped a diagonal ball over Alderweireld and Rondon suddenly looked poised to test Lloris inside the box, but Walker came in behind him and hacked the ball behind.

Rondon forced a low save from Lloris with a 20-yard strike, but Albion were fortunate to escape a red card as McClean threw himself into a nasty, high tackle on Dembele – only to get a yellow card from referee Jonathan Moss.

Dembele was able to carry on and freed substitute Njie with a through ball, only for the offside flag to go up – which looked like the wrong decision and a costly one for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Dembele, Lamela (Son 65), Alli (Njie 80), Eriksen, Kane