Visitors fight back to deny the Baggies
ALBION squandered a two-goal lead as Arsenal fought back to draw 2-2 in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League at The Hawthorns.
Kemar Roofe and Adil Nabi put the Baggies ahead but goals either side of Romaine Sawyers’ missed penalty earned the visitors a point.
Watched on by head coach Steve Clarke and club legend Cyrille Regis, Isaiah Brown started for David Oldfield’s outfit after featuring as an unused substitute in yesterday’s 1-0 defeat at Chelsea.
Albion started the brighter of the two sides and could have gone ahead on nine minutes but Adil Nabi’s 30-yard free-kick was well saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
The Gunners carved out a chance of their own nine minutes later when Zak Ansah fired straight at Boaz Myhill from Nico Yennaris’ lofted throughball.
Conor Henderson’s 26th-minute strike whistled just over Myhill’s bar from 25 yards as the visitors began to find their feet at The Hawthorns.
Adil Nabi’s 37th-minute effort was denied by Fabianski after James Hurst and Izzy Brown combined to good effect on the right flank.
The Poland international goalkeeper dived to his right to parry Nabi’s ferocious right-foot hit from ten yards out.
And the Baggies were ahead two minutes later following more good work from Brown and Hurst on the wing.
Roofe found time to control Hurst’s left-foot cross before half-volleying the ball into the bottom right-hand corner from eight yards out.
Fabianski was on hand to deny Hurst 60 seconds into the second half as the Baggies went in search of the all-important second goal.
The 21-year-old right back overlapped Brown on the right before firing a powerful strike at the experienced keeper.
Albion doubled their lead on 50 minutes with Adil Nabi slotting the ball home after a meandering run through the Arsenal back line.
Wes Atkinson was unfortunate to direct Nigel Neita’s shot into his own net as the visitors pulled a goal back 12 minutes later.
The Baggies should have regained their two-goal advantage moments later but Romaine Sawyers drove his right-foot spot kick into the arms of Fabianski after Adil Nabi was felled in the box.
But the Gunners were level on 67 as Chuba Akpom netted from Martin Angha’s cross.
And the hosts nearly lost the game with three minutes remaining but Hector Bellerin’s left-foot strike hit the left post from 20 yards.
ALBION: Myhill; Hurst (Francis 53), C Jones, Atkinson, Smart; Birch, Allan; I Brown, A Nabi, Roofe; Sawyers. Subs not used: Lewis (gk); Wedderburn, Howkins, S Nabi.
ARSENAL: Fabianski; Boateng, Monterio, Miquel, Angha; Wynter, Yennaris (Bellerin 84); Ansah (Gnabry 72), Henderson, Neita; Akpom (Olsson 72). Subs: Hajrovic, Shea.
GOALS: ALBION - Roofe (39), A Nabi (50) ARSENAL – Atkinson OG (62), Akpom (67)
REFEREE: Steven Plane (Worcestershire)
ALBION STARMAN: Adil Nabi