ALBION produced a performance of the highest order to brush aside Everton 5-0 in the Barclays U21 Premier League this afternoon.
First-half strikes from Alex Jones (pictured) and Samir Nabi put the Baggies in the box seat at The Hawthorns – with Jordan Francis all but sealing the win 13 minutes after the interval.
But there was still time for captain Aaron Birch to get on the scoresheet before Nabi netted his second and Albion’s fifth to secure the side's biggest win of the campaign.
The Baggies pressed the visitors high up the pitch during the opening exchanges and their efforts paid dividends after only six minutes.
Alex Jones chased onto Ryan Pace’s inch-perfect ball over the top and fired under Mateusz Taudul to give the hosts an early lead.
Albion might have doubled their advantage on nine but Joe Ward’s volley from the edge of the area sailed a yard wide of the right post.
A slick passing exchange between Birch and Alex Jones carved open another chance for the Baggies – but the latter’s cross was toed clear by Pennington with Samir Nabi primed for a close-range shot.
John Lundstram’s 34th-minute overhead kick could have gone anywhere after Albion failed to clear their lines – but Jack Rose watched in relative comfort from his goalline as the ball flew harmlessly wide of his right-hand upright.
David Oldfield’s youngsters deservedly doubled their lead in the final minute of the first half.
Samir Nabi provided a composed finish to beat Taudul from just inside the area after getting on the end of a well-measured Joe Ward pass.
Everton started the second half brightly and three minutes in Ibou Touray sent a 30-yard strike a foot over Rose’s crossbar.
But the Baggies put the game to bed on 58.
Jordan Francis cut in from the left flank, outpaced Toffees right-back Ben McLaughlin, and blasted into the far-right corner to make it three.
McLaughlin had a chance of his own moments later.
The full-back cruised forward and fired a powerful 25-yard strike at goal only to see Rose, who had little else to do in the second half, dive to his right and parry.
Skipper Aaron Birch added his name to the ever-growing scoresheet in the 66th minute.
The young midfielder powered a 15-yard header into the top-right of the net from Ward’s drilled corner.
It was 5-0 three minutes later.
Francis, who caused the visitors countless problems throughout the afternoon, found Nabi free inside the six-yard box.
The attacking midfielder made good contact with the left-wing cross and gave Taudul no chance as he grabbed his second.
Hungry for more goals the Baggies went in search of a sixth on 77 – but Alex Jones was denied by Taudul who had to be quick off the mark to block Albion’s No. 9 from eight yards out.
ALBION (3-5-1-1): Rose; Howkins, Donnellan, C Jones; Atkinson (Wright 90), Ward, Pace, Birch, Francis (Wedderburn 85); S Nabi; A Jones. Subs not used: Palmer (gk); Barrow, Smart.
EVERTON (4-3-3): Taudul; McLaughlin, Touray, Lundstram, Pennington, Graham, Kennedy, Williams, Hope (Green 64), McAleny, Grant (Long 51). Subs not used: Hewelt, Langton, Charsley.
GOALS: ALBION – A Jones (6), S Nabi (45, 69), Francis (58), Birch (66) EVERTON – None.
BOOKINGS: ALBION - C Jones (foul 72). EVERTON – McLaughlin (foul 75).
REFEREE: Vilhjalmur Alvar Thorarinsson.
ALBION STARMAN: Jordan Francis.