Salomon Rondon treble fires West Brom past Swansea and up to seventh
Salomon Rondon's quickfire hat-trick maintained West Brom's unlikely European charge as he inspired the Baggies to a 3-1 win over Swansea.
The striker netted his first-ever treble for Albion in 13 second-half minutes as the hosts rose to seventh in the Premier League.
Three headers sunk Swansea and Tony Pulis' side have now won four of their last six games and, although Pulis refuses to discuss Europe, it remains a growing possibility.
In contrast, defeat left Bob Bradley's Swansea three points from safety and fellow strugglers Middlesbrough, who they travel to on Saturday.
They have just one point from their last seven league away games despite Wayne Routledge's late consolation.
There was little to hint at Rondon's goal rush during a dour first half which took an age to ignite even if Swansea almost fell behind after 16 minutes when Matt Phillips fired wide.
It was the only real chance during a poor opening where the visitors tried to play expansively but were constantly let down by their final ball.
Albion, who have now scored 10 goals in their last three home games, looked to Nacer Chadli for inspiration but often came up short as the Swans had the bulk of possession, even if they failed to do anything with it.
Bradley's side were comfortable and dictated the play but needed to be saved by Lukasz Fabianski nine minutes before the break.
The rampaging Allan Nyom and Chadli combined to send Rondon clear but, with just Fabianski to beat, he shot too close to the goalkeeper.
Three minutes later Chris Brunt almost turned Jefferson Montero's cross into his own net as Swansea finally provided some ammunition.
The game had finally come to life and Rondon missed another fine chance a minute before the break.
Jordi Amat was caught in possession by James Morrison and he sent Rondon through but Amat saved his own blushes with a fine goal-saving tackle on the Venezuelan.
The chances came and went in a fashion in keeping with the game - scrappy and miscued - but Rondon made up for his misses by completing a 13-minute treble.
First, after 50 minutes, Chadli was fouled just outside the area and Phillips delivered a teasing free-kick for Rondon to power in a header from six yards.
The 27-year-old doubled Albion's lead to make the game safe on 61 minutes when he converted another close-range header from Brunt's cross.
And, just two minutes later, he grabbed a third with another header which looped over Fabianski from 10 yards.
It was game over but Routledge netted a consolation when he fired in with 12 minutes left after Ben Foster saved from Borja Baston.
Foster then prevented a Gareth McAuley own goal with a fine one-handed stop in injury time.