For the second consecutive week, West Bromwich Albion left it late to grab a vital victory as Roman Bednar’s strike and Craig Beattie’s injury-time second finally saw off ten-man Tottenham Hotspur after a controversial clash.
Bednar headed home Marek Cech’s high ball, much to the Spurs bench’s disgust as the striker appeared to push Michael Dawson in the process of netting but referee Steve Tanner waved away protests.
It wasn’t the first time Tanner had enraged Harry Redknapp, who had seen his side reduced to ten men in the 35th minute when full-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto was shown a straight red card for a high challenge on Gianni Zuiverloon.
Beattie then scored a second in added time to give Tony Mowbray’s side a much-deserved three points that makes sure they are not cut adrift at the bottom of the table at the start of the new year.
Ironically, Albion’s best chances came before the sending-off.
Cech, making his first start of the season, showed a great piece of skill in midfield to play in James Morrison but he dragged his shot across goal.
Then Borja Valero tested Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomez with a free-kick from 20 yards out as Albion started brightly, but the visitors were also a threat and Scott Carson had to be alert to deny Darren Bent after he had played a beautiful one-two with Luka Modric on the edge of the Baggies box.
The temperature was then raised on the half-hour when a Jonas Olsson tackle on Bent in the touchline left the Spurs striker on the ground.
Mr Tanner did not even award a free-kick and just a minute later Assou-Ekotto committed a terrible challenge on Zuiverloon in almost the identical spot. This time the official did take action, showing the Spurs right-back a straight red card.
But even after gaining a numerical advantage, it was Spurs who had the best chance to break the deadlock when a mix-up in the Albion box allowed David Bentley to nip in, his shot flashing inches past the post.
Albion almost took the lead within three minutes of the restart when Valero was tripped on the edge of the area by Vedran Corluka but Chris Brunt’s free-kick was spectacularly tipped over the bar by Gomes, and then the Brazilian produced another good save to deny Moore.
Albion were doing all the pressing and in the 69th minute Morrison played Zuiverloon in behind the Spurs defence but the Dutchman’s low cross was cut out by Dawson with Bednar poised, and then Graham Dorrans’ deflected effort was touched over by Gomes.
The breakthrough finally came in the 83rd minute when Bednar grabbed his sixth goal of the season and he almost added a second with a deflected free-kick which was tipped away by Gomes.
However, Albion did put the game to bed late on when Cech again powered forward and played in Morrison who teed up Beattie for his second to spark jubilant scenes.
Scorers: Bednar (83), Beattie (90).
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-4-2): Carson; Zuiverloon (Hoefkens, 74); Barnett; Olsson; Cech; Morrison; Greening; Valero (Beattie, 80); Brunt (Dorrans, 65); Bednar; Moore. Subs: Kiely; Kim; MacDonald; Donk.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka; Dawson; Woodgate; Assou-Ekotto; Lennon; Jenas; Zokora (Campbell 86); Bentley (O’Hara 70); Bent; Modric (Bale 75). Subs: Gunter; Taarabt; Sanchez; Obika.
Referee: Steve Tanner (Somerset)
Bookings: Albion - Morrison, Brunt, Zuiverloon (both fouls); Spurs – Dawson, Jenas (both fouls).
Sending-off: Spurs – Assou-Ekotto (dangerous play).
Albion man of the match: Marek Cech – played a vital role in both goals.