VALIANT ten-man Albion Under-18s suffered a 2-1 defeat by Wolves in Saturday’s FA Premier Academy League (Group One) Black Country derby.
Samir Nabi’s 48th-minute penalty cancelled out Wanderers’ fortunate first-half opener.
But an injury to midfielder Ryan Pace just before the break and the sending-off of his replacement Joe Ward for retaliation with more than half-an-hour remaining cost the Baggies dear as the visitors went on to grab a winner.
Albion lead development coach James Shan said: “Last week we didn’t manage the game well and I thought this week we did that.
“We kept the ball well and our decision-making on whether to play quickly or carefully was good.
“We were very much in the game and could have gone ahead when Ryan Pace was unlucky to see his shot cleared off the line.
“We conceded just before half-time, which was a bit of a killer.
“It wasn’t a fair reflection of the half because we were much the better team.
“Wolves were very direct and we defended against that really well.
“I had to make a change just before the break as Pace got injured and I brought Under-16 Joe Ward on.
“We started the second-half brightly and got the equaliser after three minutes with a great little move.
“Danny Barrow slotted Tavhon Campell in and the keeper brought him down for a penalty that Samir Nabi put away.
“Then a moment of madness saw Ward get sent-off for retaliating to a foul on him, which we'd already got the free-kick for.
“We played the last 30 minutes with ten men and credit to the boys because they showed stickability, still played our way and dominated possession.
“We could have had another penalty and were then unfortunate to concede a scrappy winner.
“Last week the lads were not industrious enough and lacked work-rate but this week I felt they had that in abundance.
“I thought we were very, very good in taking our game to Wolves and just lacked that little bit of creativity in the final third.
“We had four Under-16s on the pitch in the second half, we were a very young side and we are very much looking to build our team for next season.
“But credit to them because they went up against a big, powerful, strong Wolves team and more than coped.”
ALBION: Palmer; Buchannon (Hallaghan 77), Howkins, Greenidge, Francis; Hayes, Pace (Ward 35), S Nabi; A Jones (Campbell HT), Barrow, Wedderburn. Subs not used: McCalla, Ross.