ALBION will be in the draw for the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup after recording a narrow 2-1 victory over Walsall at The Hawthorns this evening.
Danny Barrow (pictured) and Andre Wright were on the scoresheet as the Baggies came from a goal behind to claim the local bragging rights against the Saddlers.
James Shan’s youngsters had much of the early possession but failed to test keeper Richard Jones despite setting up camp in Walsall’s half for the opening ten minutes.
But it was the visitors who struck the first shot in anger when Carlton McKenzie broke free and fired well over from just outside the area after a positive meandering run through Albion’s midfield.
McKenzie was at it again on 27.
The speedy winger chased down a ball over the top and pulled it back for Luke Delaney who saw his fierce right-foot effort parried by Alex Palmer from 15 yards.
And McKenzie’s night got even better on the half-hour mark as he gave Walsall the lead.
The youngster pounced as the ball fell free on the edge of the area and rifled a right-foot thunderbolt inside the left-hand post.
Albion reacted in the best way possible and were level inside 60 seconds.
Wideman Danny Barrow cruised into a central position and coolly dinked the ball over Jones and into the Saddlers goal from Samir Nabi’s defence-splitting throughball.
First-half chances were few and far between at The Hawthorns.
However, Nabi gave Jones one final test in stoppage time as he hit a powerful shot straight into the Walsall keeper’s arms from 20 yards.
The second half started much like the first with scoring opportunities again limited as both teams attempted to keep things tight.
But Albion took the lead on 57.
Andre Wright was the first on the scene to poke the ball home after Bradley Sweeney’s long-range effort was blocked by Jones.
More goals looked even less likely after the Baggies went ahead with the hosts happy with the scoreline and the visitors unable to carve out a chance.
Albion will be pleased with a solid home performance and looking forward to seeing who they will face in the fourth round.
ALBION: Palmer; Sweeney, Howkins, C Jones (c), Smart; Ward, Cleet; Barrow, S Nabi (Gannon 83), Wedderburn (Hallahan 57); Wright (Oldnall 74). Subs not used: Ross (gk); Donnellan.
WALSALL: R Jones; Ashmore, Henry, Kinsella, Dallison, Christopherou, McKenzie, Delaney (L Rowley 66), Bakayoko, Rush, Reid (K Rowley 76). Subs not used: Lovett, Garner, Probert.
GOALS: ALBION – Barrow (31), Wright (58); WALSALL – McKenzie (30).
REFEREE: G Law (Leicestershire).
ALBION STARMAN: George Cleet.