Albion's play-off hopes look all but over tonight after they were crushed 6-0 by promotion-chasing West Ham United at Upton Park.
The Hammers, buoyed by Southampton's defeat to Reading last night, struck three goals within a devastating opening 11 eleven-minute spell, before adding another treble in the second half - including a hat-trick for Portuguese striker Ricardo Vaz Te.
The home side - who haven't given up hope of clinching one of two automatic promotion places - showed their intentions in the first minute as Henri Lansbury looped a 25-yard effort over Peter Brezovan and onto the bar.
The warning was there, but Albion could not stop the West Ham onslaught and the Hammers took the lead in the third minute, when Vaz Te unleashed a vicious strike, which proved too hot for Albion keeper Brezovan.
That strike triggered a torrid eight minutes for the visitors. Vaz Te doubled their lead on eight minutes when he met Gary O'Neil's deep cross with a back-post header.
Then three minutes later James Tomkins was on the end of Matt Taylor's deep free-kick at the back post, to head the ball across goal where skipper Kevin Nolan tapped in from close range.
Albion seemed shell-shocked as West Ham continued to go forward looking for a fourth but Gus Poyet's men weathered the remainder of the storm as they tried to work their way back into the game.
After 30 minutes, Albion had a great chance to pull a goal back. Vicente whipped in a trademark corner from the left which landed at Inigo Calderon in a generous amount of space, but his effort sliced wide.
Then Gordon Greer had a back-post header - courtesy of Gary Dicker's corner - clawed out of the top right corner by former England keeper Robert Green, as it look destined for the back of the net.
Albion knew they had a mountain to climb at half-time but that glimmer of hope faded when the Hammers struck a fourth after an hour. Carlton Cole headed a cross back across goal, Albion failed the clear the ball and Vaz Te completed his hat-trick with a fine acrobatic scissor kick.
Things got even worse for Albion when West Ham made it five four minutes later. Cole cut in off the left and fired at goal from 12 yards; the ball rebounded off his team-mate Lansbury and looped into the Albion goal.
With a little over ten minutes remaining Albion's woes were complete when Gary Dicker guided a West Ham corner past Brezovan and into the bottom left corner, which completed the scoring.
West Ham United: (4-5-1) Green; Reid, Tomkins, Demel (Collins 68), Taylor; Vaz Te (Carew), Nolan, Noble, O'Neil (Collison 55), Lansbury; Cole. Subs not used: Henderson (GK), Maynard.
Albion: (4-5-1) Brezovan; Calderon, Greer, El-Abd, Painter; Bridcutt, Navarro, Dicker, Vicente (Noone 64), Assulin (LuaLua 53); Barnes (Mackail-Smith 53). Subs not used: Ankergren (GK), Jara Reyes.
Referee: Roger East.
Yellow Cards: Cole (West Ham) ; Dicker (Albion)
Attendance: 32,339 (3045 Away)