ALBION suffered a late 2-1 defeat at Villa in the Barclays U21 Premier League this evening.
Alex Jones thought he had earned the Baggies a point when he equalised with eight minutes remaining but Calum Robinson scored his second goal of the game to claim the local bragging rights for the hosts.
Boaz Myhill, who began his career with the Claret and Blues, was named as an overage player in David Oldfield’s starting XI.
And the Wales international was the first of the keepers to be tested.
The 31-year-old dived to his right to comfortably gather Graham Burke’s 15th-minute effort from just outside the box.
The Baggies had to wait until the 28th minute to see their first shot at goal.
Kemar Roofe cut in from the right wing and fired high into an empty Holte End from 25 yards.
Alex Jones came close to putting Albion ahead on 33 but was unable to guide a glancing header inside the back stick from Wes Atkinson’s whipped cross.
Villa had a chance of their own five minutes later but Jordan Graham’s driven ball across the six-yard box evaded Robinson at the far post.
Samir Nabi curled a tame shot into the arms of Bradley Watkins two minutes before the interval.
The Baggies came close again in first-half stoppage time.
Villains centre-half Bradley Lewis was on hand to clear Cameron Gayle’s low shot off the line with Watkins beaten.
Graham should have given Villa the lead in the first minute of the second half.
The winger blasted just wide of the right upright after sprinting onto Andras Stieber’s through ball.
Liam O’Neil came close for David Oldfield’s men moments later.
The midfielder saw his powerful 25-yard strike parried by Watkins.
Burke’s dipping 59th-minute shot struck a defender and flew beyond the reach of Myhill and wide of the left post.
Donervorn Daniels must have thought he had put the Baggies in front on 69.
The big defender sent a looping header towards goal from Roofe’s corner but substitute Khalid Abdo cleared from under the crossbar.
The Villains were ahead two minutes later.
The hosts broke quickly with Robinson firing past Myhill from Johnson’s defence-splitting pass.
The Baggies fought back to level the scores with only eight minutes remaining.
Alex Jones chased down Liam O’Neil’s perfectly weighted through ball and slotted into the bottom-left-hand corner from 12 yards.
But Robinson fired a winner in the final minute of normal time.
The Villa No.9 volleyed past Myhill from Graham’s cross to seal the win for the Claret and Blues.
VILLA: Watkins; Webb, Donacien, Lewis (Leggett 75), Wildin; Strain (Abdo 62), Stieber; Burke, Johnson, Graham; Robinson. Subs not used: Hill (gk); O’Brien, Nehemie.
ALBION: Myhill; Howkins (Donnellan 90+1), D Daniels, C Jones; Atkinson, S Nabi, O’Neil, Birch (Wright 82), Gayle (Ward 72); A Jones, Roofe. Subs not used: Rose (gk); Pace.
GOALS: VILLA – Robinson (71, 90) ALBION – A Jones (82).
BOOKINGS: VILLA - None ALBION – None.
REFEREE: John Brooks (Leicestershire).