West Bromwich Albion held on to their slim hopes of avoiding relegation albeit for a few hours after a stoppage-time goal by Jake Livermore gave them a lifeline 1-0 home win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
With one game remaining, West Brom moved up to 19th on 31 points from 37 matches, one behind Southampton and two adrift of Swansea who both have games in hand ahead of a thrilling climax to the relegation battle.
However, West Brom’s joy will be short-lived and the Midlands club will drop into the second-tier Championship after eight seasons in the top flight if Southampton beat Everton away later on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster conceded he had lost all hope of staying up before West Brom’s late revival which started with a shock 1-0 win at Manchester United on April 15.
“Six weeks ago I had us resigned to relegation,” former United keeper Foster told the BBC.
“I accepted our fate was inevitable. Fair play to (caretaker manager) Darren Moore and the coaches. The mental side is 50-50 with the fitness.
“The lads really put their hearts on the line and were brilliant. We know we are a threat at set pieces and we managed to nick one.”
Former Tottenham midfielder Livermore struck deep into stoppage time to send the home fans at The Hawthorns into raptures after both sides had missed good chances in a scrappy game dominated by the visitors.
Foster made several telling saves, having denied Victor Wanyama and Harry Kane in the first half and then kept out a pair of Eric Lamela efforts after the break.
Crucially, he produced a spectacular stop in the dying seconds after Livermore had scored to keep alive West Brom’s dream of pulling off what would be a great escape.
Jay Rodriguez had a header cleared off the line and strike partner Salomon Rondon scuffed a close-range shot at the other end as anxiety crept into West Brom before Livermore capped the home side’s late onslaught.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was unhappy with his team’s lack of cutting edge.
“In football you can dominate but you need to be clinical in front of goal and today wasn’t good,” he said.
“I am very disappointed because we lost the game. Still, we have it in our hands to be in the top four.”
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ed Osmond and Pritha Sarkar