ALBION bowed out of the Capital One Cup after a disappointing 2-1 defeat against AFC Bournemouth at the Goldsands Stadium tonight.
Callum Wilson’s 86th-minute strike settled the dramatic fourth-round tie on the south coast – just 60 seconds after Tommy Elphick’s own goal looked to have sent the encounter into extra-time.
The Cherries had taken the lead thanks to Eunan O’Kane’s 49th-minute finish, finding the far corner having been played through into space by Junior Stanislas.
The Baggies were bidding to make the quarter-finals of the League Cup for the first time since 2010/11.
But it was in-form Bournemouth, who had won their last four matches and six of the previous seven going into the encounter, who instead booked their place in the last eight of the competition.
It was a below-par night for Albion, who will now look to make amends when they return to Barclays Premier League action away at Leicester on Saturday.
Brown Ideye returned to Albion’s starting XI, with the fit-again striker one of 10 changes from the weekend’s draw against Crystal Palace, centre-back Craig Dawson the only survivor.
The Cherries also made the same number of alterations from their emphatic 8-0 victory over Birmingham in the Sky Bet Championship.
However, despite the hefty number of changes, both sides looked to pose a threat in what were open initial exchanges – Cristian Gamboa getting in a great block to deny Yann Kermorgant before Liam O’Neil headed off target at the other end.
Boaz Myhill produced a great one-handed save to keep out the lively Tokelo Rantie in the 20th minute.
The Baggies grew into the game as the first half has worn on, enjoying a couple of half-chances of their own.
But it was the in-form hosts who threatened most, thanks to a lively forward line headed by the pacy Rantie.
And it was they who took the lead four minutes after the restart, O’Kane finishing low past Myhill having been played through by Stanislas.
Gamboa forced a parried save from Camp as Albion looked for an immediate route back into the contest.
Head coach Alan Irvine turned to Georgios Samaras, Stephane Sessegnon and Saido Berahino, in turn, off the bench.
And it looked to have worked when Samaras’ cross was turned into his own net by Elphick at the near post.
But Bournemouth sub Wilson had the final say at the other end just a minute later to send the Baggies crashing out of the competition.
Albion: Myhill, Gamboa, Dawson, McAuley, Davidson, Baird, O’Neil (Sessegnon 63’), Mulumbu, Blanco (Berahino 73’), Anichebe, Ideye (Samaras 55’).
Subs: Foster, Wisdom, Gardner, Roofe.
GOAL: Elphick og (85’)
BOOKED: Dawson (foul 8’), Mulumbu (foul 39’)
Bournemouth: Camp, Smith, Elphick, Cargill, Harte, Fraser (Francis 74’), O'Kane, Gosling, Stanislas, Kermorgant (MacDonald 87’), Rantie (Wilson 69’).
Subs: Flahavan, Daniels, Ritchie, MacDonald, Pitman.
GOALS: O’Kane (49’), Wilson (86’)
BOOKED: O’Kane (foul 15’), Harte (foul 25’)
Referee: Paul Tierney
Attendance: 11,296 (2,176 Albion)
Albion star man: Gareth McAuley