West Bromwich Albion kept alive their slender hopes of avoiding Premier League relegation with a 1-0 win against Newcastle, while Southampton beat Bournemouth 2-1 to breathe new life into their fight for survival on Saturday.
Albion would have been relegated to the Championship if they had failed to take maximum points at St James’ Park, but Matt Phillips bagged the first half winner to keep them in with a shout for a few more hours at least.
Jake Livermore’s pin-point pass sent Phillips racing clear of the Newcastle defence and the winger lashed past Martin Dubravka in the 29th minute.
Despite Phillips’ strike, bottom of the table Albion’s eight-season stay in the top-flight would still be over if 17th placed Swansea beat Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium later on Saturday.
Albion interim boss Darren Moore said: “We can’t control other results. There’s nothing we can do.
“We’re just doing everything we can at our end. The boys have done really well since I came in.”
Dusan Tadic boosted Southampton’s bid to beat the drop as his double sealed a crucial success in the south-coast derby at St Mary’s.
Mark Hughes’ third bottom side took the lead when Serbia winger Tadic finished off a rapid counter-attack from Mario Lemina in the 25th minute.
Josh King equalised for Bournemouth with a close-range finish after Saints failed to clear a corner in first half stoppage-time.
But Southampton restored their advantage in the 54th minute thanks to a gem from Tadic, who embarked on a fine solo run before finishing in clinical fashion.
It was Southampton’s first league win in five matches since Hughes replaced the sacked Mauricio Pellegrino last month
Southampton, hoping to extend their six-season stay in the top flight, are one point adrift of safety with three games left.
“This is one of the most important wins in our history,” Tadic said. “We are fighting for our lives and we showed that. We knew we had to win, no matter how we played.”
– Battling Stoke –