Baggies win on final day of the season
ALBION sealed a 1-0 home triumph over West Ham in their final Barclays U21 Premier League fixture of the campaign.
Adil Nabi’s deflected 20-yard free-kick was enough for the Baggies to end the season the same way it began – with a victory at the club’s training ground.
Isaiah Brown was named in David Oldfield’s 16-man squad after featuring as a substitute in Saturday’s 3-2 defeat by Wigan at The Hawthorns.
But it was the Nabi brothers – Adil and Samir – who stole the show for Albion.
Adil made his mark from the outset – testing Jake Larkins in the Hammers goal as early as the fourth minute.
The visitors had a chance of their own moments later but Shane Lewis was on hand to block Elliott Lee’s powerful left-foot strike.
Paul McCallum went closed for the Irons on 17 but his right-foot effort narrowly passed Lewis’ right-hand post from 20 yards.
There was a lengthy delay on the half-hour mark after Mattias Fanimo had to be stretchered from the field and was eventually replaced Sean Maguire.
Adil Nabi so nearly gave Albion the lead in the 38th-minute.
His blistering right-foot thunderbolt crashed off the crossbar from 25 yards out.
The hosts finally had their lead in first-half stoppage time.
Adil Nabi’s goalbound free-kick deflected off Jordan Spence and bounced past Larkins – who was left stranded.
The Baggies were even better after the interval and Cameron Gayle nearly extended their lead within two minutes of the restart.
The defender was unable to get over Tom Smart’s whipped cross from the left wing – and watched helplessly as his header flew over the bar from inside the six-yard box.
Lewis made the save of the game to keep David Olfield’s side in front.
The young keeper dived acrobatically to his right and tipped Lee’s well-timed 25-yard effort over the bar.
Albion could have had a second 15 minutes from time.
Sawyers linked well with Samir Nabi, who in turn lay the ball off to his elder brother, but his volley from just outside the area was turned behind by Larkins.
The Baggies deserved their hard-fought victory and will be pleased to finish the season on a positive note.
ALBION: (4-2-3-1): Lewis; Atkinson, D Daniels, Gayle, Smart; O’Neil, I Brown (N’Kumu 71); Birch, A Nabi, S Nabi; Sawyers . Subs not used: Rose (gk); Pace, C Jones, Molyneux.
WEST HAM (4-2-3-1): Larkin; Driver,Spence, Mpanzu, Mavila; Bywater, Fanimo (Maguire 32); Hall, Lee, Moncur; McCallum (Sadlier 71). Subs not used: Nemrava, Miles, Burke.
GOAL: Albion - A Nabi (45+5).
REFEREE: Martin Dexter
ALBION STARMAN: Adil Nabi.