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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

14 December 2018 Venue Heritage Park Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Middlesbrough PL2
2 - 2
West Bromwich Albion PL2

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Match Previews

Progress pleases Smith ahead of 2018 finale

14 December 2018

JAMIE Smith says he’s encouraged with the progress that his Under-23s have made so far this season ahead of their final fixture of 2018 at Middlesbrough tonight (ko 7pm).

Albion’s youngsters have already picked up more points during this campaign than they did in the whole of the 2017/18 Premier League 2 Division Two challenge despite still having 10 matches left to play. 

And Jamie believes the squad, who have been defeated in just one of their last seven league games, is in a good place ahead of their break for Christmas and New Year.

“So far it has been a very good season,” he said.

“For us the development of the squad as individuals and as a team, as well as their performances this season, have been pleasing.

“We have been in contention in all the games that we have played even though we haven't always picked up the results that we’ve deserved. 

“Our possession stats, final third entries, shots, crosses and goals conceded per game have all improved which we see as a success.

“There is obviously still loads to work on but we feel that the players are going in the right direction in their development.”

The young Baggies could move up to seventh and leapfrog their Teesside opponents if they win at Heritage Park, with Smith hoping his team can pick up where they left off after last weekend’s superb 2-0 win over Reading.

 “We were very pleased with the result against a very good Reading team who were flying,” added Jamie.

“We rode our luck at times and Jonathan Bond had some work to do but the players showed good character and spirit to win the game.

“Middlesbrough beat us earlier on in the season in what was a hard-fought, close game.

“We’re expecting nothing different this time around - apart from hopefully the result.”

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Match Reports

Middlesbrough PL2 2 Albion PL2 2

14 December 2018

ALBION Under-23s came from behind twice to claim a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough on a freezing cold evening at Heritage Park.

The young Baggies made a positive start and had the ball in the net early on, however Jamie Soule’s close-range effort was ruled out for offside. 

Instead it was Middlesbrough who scored the first goal of the game on 21 minutes as Connor Malley slotted home from the edge of the area.

The home side took their lead into half-time but, just four minutes into the second period, a fantastic move involving Dan Meredith and George Harmon was finished well by Rayhaan Tulloch.

It looked like Boro had stolen all three points when substitute Stephen Walker converted Malley’s rebound from a tight angle with just eight minutes remaining.

Jamie Smith’s side came fighting back, though, and after Morgan Rogers was fouled inside the box Soule squeezed the resulting penalty past Bradley James to ensure a share of the spoils.

ALBION: Palmer, Trialist, Howkins, Healy; Meredith, Wilding, Azaz (Gardner-Hickman 72), Harmon; Rogers, Soule, Tulloch.

Substitutes: Griffiths, Delaney, Brown, Wakeling.

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