Thorne plays full game on competitive return from injury
GEORGE Thorne completed 90 minutes on his return to competitive action as Albion conceded twice in the final 15 minutes to lose this Hawthorns thriller.
Thorne, whose only previous outing since suffering a serious knee injury in January came in a training match against Swindon ten days ago, made an impressive contribution in central midfield.
Goals from Alex Jones, Mani O’Sullivan and Morgan Ferrier had put David Oldfield’s side 3-2 up at the break.
But they were pegged back by the impressive Haris Vuckic’s second on 75 before Adam Armstrong hit United’s winner eight minutes from time.
The visitors started the better of the two teams, with winger Jonathan Quinn whipping in three dangerous crosses in the opening minutes.
The deadlock was broken in the eighth minute when a stunning effort from outside the penalty area from Newcastle’s Gael Bigirimana crashed in off the Albion bar.
The Baggies responded quickly and striker Jones levelled on 13 when he tapped home his second goal of the season from Bradley Garmston’s centre.
Albion were ahead just a minute later when another Garmston delivery found Ferrier, who cut the ball back for O’Sullivan to give the home side the advantage.
The goals continued to flow and Newcastle drew level in the 25th minute when Rolando Aarons’ cute through-ball was rifled home by Vuckic.
Vuckic, who has made six senior appearances for the Magpies, came close to doubling his tally after a 30-yard strike crept narrowly over the crossbar.
But Albion, who had lost their previous three games, snatched back the lead going into the break. Kemar Roofe made a surging run into the opposition penalty area and found Ferrier, who drilled the ball into the roof of the net.
Vuckic again proved Newcastle’s biggest threat after the restart, with the Serb’s sharp delivery across the Albion goalmouth lacking a recipient.
Thorne almost marked his Albion comeback with an assist on 64 when he threaded through Alex Jones, whose effort forced a strong save from Magpies keeper Jak Alnwick.
Newcastle then levelled for the second time in the match after Garmston gave away a 75th-minute free-kick just outside the penalty area. Again it was Vuckic, whose Premier League quality shone through as he whipped the ball around the Albion wall for a crisp equaliser.
Albion pressed for a winner late on – only to concede the decisive goal with just eight minutes to go. Another piece of brilliance from Vuckic found Armstrong unmarked in the six-yard box and the striker made no mistake to earn the Toon all three points.
ALBION (4-2-3-1): Rose; Francis, Atkinson, Gayle, Garmston (C Jones 85); Thorne, O’Neil (Birch 45); Ferrier, O’Sullivan (S Nabi 77), Roofe; Jones. Subs not used: Palmer, Campbell.
NEWCASTLE (4-4-2): Alnwick; Tavernier, Streete, Good, Gillesphey; Aarons (Roberts 61), Bigirimana, Armstrong, Quinn; Vuckic, Campbell. Subs not used: McKinnon, Mitchell, Drennan, Barlaser.
GOALS: ALBION - A Jones (13), O'Sullivan (14), Ferrier (41). NEWCASTLE – Bigirimana (8), Vuckic (25 & 75), Armstrong (82).
BOOKINGS: ALBION – Thorne (foul 62).
REFEREE: D Eaton