Baggies overcome Rovers in season opener
ALBION battled to a 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers in the Barclays U21 Premier League at the club’s training ground this afternoon.
Alex Jones’ first-half header was enough to seal three points for the Baggies in their opening fixture of the campaign.
Aaron Birch and Wes Atkinson started for David Oldfield’s side - after featuring for the first team in a friendly against Genoa earlier this month.
Albion began the brighter of the two sides with Liam O’Neil’s tame header floating over from Reece Wedderburn’s high corner on 12 minutes.
Rovers had a chance of their own 14 minutes later when Tim Payne’s 30-yard strike travelled just over Luke Daniels’ crossbar.
Less than 60 seconds later Kemar Roofe hit a left-foot effort wide of David Raya’s left-hand post from outside the area.
Experienced right-back Bradley Orr volleyed just wide for the visitors on 32 minutes after making excellent contact with Adam Henley’s driven cross.
Fabio Nunes’ 25-yard goalbound free-kick took everyone by surprise eight minutes before the interval – but Luke Daniels was alert to the threat and tipped the ball over the bar.
The Baggies were ahead moments later.
Rovers keeper Raya could not keep hold of Kemar Roofe’s right-wing cross – and Alex Jones headed home from inches out to give Oldfield’s outfit the lead at the break.
Albion should have doubled their advantage 90 seconds after the restart.
Trialist Morgan Ferrier’s eight-yard volley flew just over the upright - after Birch’s shot deflected off a defender and looped into his path.
Both sides found second-half goal scoring opportunities difficult to come by – as the hosts looked to seal their first three points of the season.
The Baggies could have put the game beyond doubt in the dying moments.
Alex Jones was denied by a fantastic Raya save in the 89th minute after Birch played him in with an inch-perfect throughball.
ALBION (4-4-2): L Daniels; Francis, D Daniels, Gayle, Atkinson; Roofe (Hayes 87), O’Neil (O’Sullivan 63), Birch, Wedderburn (Ward 55); Ferrier (trialist), A Jones. Subs not used: Rose (gk); C Jones, Ward.
BLACKBURN: Raya; Orr, Henley (Vicars 57), Jorge (Pero 77), Daly, Tumwa, Nunes, Payne, Preston, Bauress, Hanley. Subs not used: Paul, Urwin, Haley.
GOALS: ALBION – A Jones (39)
REFEREE: Steven Plane (Worcestershire)
ALBION STARMAN: Donervorn Daniels