Dele Alli’s 89th-minute equaliser preserved Tottenham Hotspur’s unbeaten Premier League start and equalled their best opening to a season since 1990 with a 1-1 draw at West Brom on Saturday afternoon.
It looked like Spurs would be left frustrated, having been repeatedly denied by Ben Foster in the first-half before Nacer Chadli – who moved from the North London club to the Baggies for £13 million in the summer – fired the opener after 82 minutes.
But Alli poked into the bottom corner from close-range in the dying stages and ensured they are still the only top-flight team yet to suffer defeat this term in the process.
Two changes for Spurs, none for Baggies
Tony Pulis named an unchanged side from the one that drew at Sunderland a fortnight ago.
Captain Darren Fletcher made the Baggies’ starting line-up after passing a late fitness test, as did Salomon Rondon despite only returning from international duty with Venezuela on Thursday.
Spurs lined up without Son Heung-min in the starting eleven, despite the South Korean having been named the Player of the Month for September.
Son, who came into the game with five goals and two assists in the league this season, was dropped for Vincent Janssen in one of two Spurs changes.
Mauricio Pochettino also chose to start Ben Davies over Danny Rose at left-back, with the Englishman having played 180 minutes for England in the international break. Mousa Dembele was only fit enough for the bench.
Spurs the better side in the first half
Following a competitive start to the game, in which Spurs saw more of the ball, Erik Lamela spurned the first real opportunity. The Argentine combined with Janssen inside the box but after receiving the ball back, could only drag his shot wide of the far post.
Christian Eriksen then saw a tame effort easily saved by Ben Foster at one end, before only the toe of Toby Alderweireld prevented Salomon Rondon from latching on to a long ball and going through on goal.
It was Spurs who showed the more craft and guile going forward, and they looked the more likely to open the scoring. Davies had a half-volley deflected over the crossbar as they continued to go close in search of the breakthrough.
West Brom’s resolute defence kept them at bay for much of the first half-an-hour, but Spurs steadily began to turn the screw as they penned the Baggies back into their own half.
Alli twice went close within just a few minutes – Ben Foster first thwarting him from close-range before an inventive attempt on the turn saw him poke just wide.
West Brom were continually reliant on Foster in goal, as he prevented Davies from finding the bottom corner. He dived down to his left to parry the full-back’s 20-yard drive wide.
Spurs could and should have gone ahead with their biggest chance of the half on 38 minutes, but Alli couldn’t beat Foster in a one-on-one after being sent through by Janssen.
Foster keeps the hosts in the game
‘England’s number one’ enthused the home crowd, as Foster made a string of fine stops to keep them in the game. Pulis and co. were indebted to the 33-year-old again when he produced a wonderful fingertip save to push Eriksen’s goal-bound effort wide of the post.
But in first-half stoppage-time, West Brom had the opportunity to deal a sucker-punch to the visitors when the ball fell to the feet of Rondon inside the six-yard box, but Lloris dived down at his feet to keep the game goalless.
Pochettino had spoke about this game potentially being tougher than their win over City, so the dominance that his side enjoyed perhaps served as a measure of the quality of this Spurs side – boasting 77 per-cent possession in the opening half.
But West Brom improved after the break, the ball evading Gareth McAuley at a corner when any touch would have surely resulted in the game’s opening goal.
And having struggled to get the kind of momentum going that they showed in the first-half, Spurs were dealt a worrying blow when Alderweireld had to be stretchered off on the hour mark.
They nearly produced the ideal response, a flowing move resulting in Eriksen finding Sissoko in space in the corner of the box. He cut inside on to his right foot, mis-hitting a shot which almost deflected off a defender and into the far corner.
Soon after, Dembele came on for just his second league appearance of the campaign, replacing Moussa Sissoko as Pochettino looked to introduce some more tempo and control to the visitors' game.
And there was an injury return for West Brom too, midfielder Chris Brunt coming on with just over 20 minutes remaining for his first appearance since February.
Son Heung-min was the next off the bench as a raft of substitutions temporarily took the pace out of the game, the in-form winger looking to give his team some extra attacking impetus.
Two goals late on sees two sides share the spoils
But it was Chadli, who has now been involved in six of West Brom’s last seven goals, who finally opened the scoring after 82 minutes. He was quickest to meet a loose ball, after Lloris denied McClean with an excellent stop at his near post, firing an unstoppable effort into the roof of the net to make it 1-0.
It looked like that might be the decisive goal to ensure the Baggies’ best start to a season since 2012-13, but Alli had other ideas just six minutes later.
The 20-year-old poked in the equaliser, resulting in a third successive 1-1 draw between these two sides and the 10th draw in 21 top-flight meetings.
Eriksen could have stole a late winner, his free-kick seemingly destined for the top right corner before Foster - as he did many times in the 90 minutes - clawed the ball wide.
Spurs remain only a point within league leaders Manchester City thanks to Alli's late intervention, although the disappointment on the player's faces was clear as they felt it was two points dropped rather than one gained.