Baggies secure place in Elite Group
ADIL Nabi’s 26th-minute wonder strike helped the Baggies earn a 2-1 victory over Bolton in the Barclays Under 21 Premier League.
The visitors went ahead through Adam Blakeman on 16 minutes before Ben Hampson’s own goal levelled the scores.
Nabi earned the Baggies a deserved lead ten minutes later when he curled the ball into the top-right hand corner from 25 yards.
The win sees David Oldfield’s side seal a spot in the Premier League's Elite Group following the Christmas break courtesy of their third-place finish.
Albion suffered an early scare with five minutes on the clock as Shane Lewis’ clearance struck Marvin Sordell on the back and landed wide of the Baggies goal.
The Wanderers were ahead after 16 minutes when Joe McKee’s cross-cum-shot was not gathered by Lewis and Blakeman was on hand to fire home from six yards.
David Oldfield’s outfit levelled inside ten minutes through a spectacular Nabi strike.
The 18-year-old turned McQuade from Kemar Roofe’s pass before stroking his 25-yard effort into the top right-hand corner.
Roofe could have made it 3-1 on 34 minutes but his 25-yard shot passed the left-hand post following good work from Rees Wedderburn.
Nabi should have grabbed another 60 seconds later but miss-hit his right-foot strike wide of the right-hand post.
The Baggies continued to apply pressure and Aaron Birch could might have extended Albion’s lead on 38 minutes but was unable to get a shot away after Roofe played him in.
Wanderers would have been level two minutes later had Alex McQuade fired his left-foot volley under the crossbar from Kelly’s corner.
David Oldfield’s team started the second half brightly and Roofe’s 25-yard free-kick on 47 was well saved by Lonergan in the Bolton goal.
The Trotters continued to manufacture chances with left-back Andy Kellett repeatedly breaking forward down the left.
The full-back fired a left-foot effort just over the bar from 20 yards with 50 minutes played.
The ball was in the Bolton net on 63 but Nabi was adjudged to have fouled McQuade before netting what would have been his second goal of the afternoon.
Moments later, Donervorn Daniels went on a meandering run, resulting in a low right-foot effort sailing just wide of the left-hand post following a tidy exchange with Nabi.
Daniels had a golden opportunity to double Albion’s lead on 73 but clipped his header wide from Roofe’s corner.
Alex Jones replaced Wedderburn on 84 and quickly caused problems for the visitors. Less than 60 seconds after taking to the field he broke down the right and pulled back for Roofe who was denied by a superb
one-handed save from Lonergan.
Albion soaked up substantial Bolton pressure in the final moments to claim all three points.
ALBION: Lewis; C Jones, D Daniels, C Dawson, Garmston; O’Neil, Birch; Roofe; A Nabi, Wedderburn (A Jones 81); Sawyers. Subs not used: Palmer, Barrow, Pace, Smart.
BOLTON: Lonergan; Riley, Kellett, McQuade, Hampson, Blakeman, Lester, Kelly (Woodland 80), Sordell (Odelusi 90), McKee (Iliev 71), Sampson. Subs not used: Threlkeld, Fielding.
GOALS: ALBION – Nabi (26), Hampson OG (41); BOLTON – Blakeman (16)
REFEREE: Neil Radford (Worcestershire)
ALBION STARMAN: Adil Nabi