LONDON, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur strengthened their push for the Premier League title with a 4-0 stroll over West Bromwich Albion on a special Saturday for their hat-trick hero Harry Kane.
Kane, who became a father for the first time last Sunday, celebrated with a treble -- and it could have been more -- as Spurs coasted to a surprisingly easy win, their seventh straight victory in all competitions, to move into second in the table.
Kane’s crisply-finished goal after 12 minutes was the prelude to total Spurs domination and he came close to adding to his tally several times in the first half, with the excellent Ben Foster tipping one shot against the post.
Gareth McAuley, on an ill-fated 200th West Brom appearance, inadvertently deflected Christian Eriksen’s 26th minute shot past Foster before Kane struck with two sharp volleys in the last 15 minutes.
His hat-trick goal came from a lovely Dele Alli assist, to take his season’s tally to 15 in all competitions.
The win against an unusually toothless Albion pushed Spurs above Liverpool though Chelsea, who still lead by four points, were playing at Leicester City later on Saturday and Liverpool visit Manchester United on Sunday.
Kane had missed Spurs’ FA Cup win over Aston Villa last Sunday after a sleepless night while his girlfriend Kate was giving birth to their daughter Ivy.
“It’s amazing, the week’s been a bit of a whirlwind for me,” Kane told Sky Sports after the match.
He had already come close to scoring before producing the early breakthrough from Eriksen’s threaded through ball and it was the signal for one-way traffic.
Alli, who had scored seven goals in his previous four league games, was ruled fractionally offside when it appeared he had equalled the Spurs record of scoring in five successive Premier League matches.
Foster was constantly in the action, thwarting Kane on several occasions but he could do nothing to stop Eriksen’s shot that deflected off McAuley.
A quiet second half was belatedly enlivened by more Kane excellence. In the 77th minute, Kyle Walker robbed the unfortunate McAuley and his cross was met with a fine first-time finish from the striker.
Five minutes later, a one-two between Alli and Kane ended with White Hart Lane’s local hero latching on to a delightful dinked pass to net his 13th Premier League goal of the season.
Mauricio Pochettino hailed it as a “great team performance” as he reflected with satisfaction on how Spurs have won their last seven matches with a total of 21 goals, while conceding only three.
Reporting by Ian Chadband; Editing by Toby Davis