Baggies kick-off new season in style
BROWN Ideye got his first taste of The Hawthorns as Albion claimed the Black Country bragging rights with a 2-1 victory over Wolves in the Barclays U21 Premier League.
Jason Davidson and Gareth McAuley also played 90 minutes as they look to improve their match fitness ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southampton.
Adil Nabi and Kyle Howkins were on the scoresheet for the Baggies as senior professional development phase coach, James Shan, kicked-off his tenure with a win.
The Baggies began the game brightly and almost went ahead on nine minutes when Liam O’Neil headed over from Kemar Roofe’s crossed free-kick.
Wolves new boy Tommy Rowe dragged a 20-yard effort wide of the right post five minutes later.
Kemar Roofe saw a weak left-foot strike comfortably saved by Jonathan Flatt after linking up well with Ideye.
Ideye almost had his first Albion goal on 23 but Wanderers left-back Ben O’Hanlon bravely blocked his close-range shot from Leko’s cross.
Adil Nabi volleyed Shan’s side in front on the half-hour mark.
The young midfielder slotted home from Bradley Garmston’s ball in after his initial effort struck the woodwork.
It took an excellent reflex save from Jack Rose to deny George Swan and maintain that lead five minutes later.
The Baggies could have been two up on 37 but Garmston’s powerful left-foot shot went narrowly wide of the right post from ten yards.
Garmston went closer still three minutes later as his dipping 20-yard drive flew just over the bar.
The visitors were level four minutes after the restart.
Eusebio Bancessi pounced on a misplaced Kyle Howkins pass before firing past Rose from 12 yards.
Roofe nearly put the hosts back in front on 67 but sliced inches wide of the left post from just outside the area.
Howkins headed the Baggies into the lead in the 70th minute.
The big defender out jumped his opponent to nod home Adil Nabi’s free-kick.
The Baggies should have extended their lead with eight minutes remaining but Garmston was unable to keep his half-volley under the crossbar.
Ideye struck just over from 20 yards during second-half stoppage time.
ALBION: Rose; Atkinson, McAuley, Howkins, Davidson; Leko (Barrow 69), O’Neil, A Nabi (Pace 88), Garmston (Kandi 85); Roofe, Ideye. Subs not used: Palmer (GK); Donellan.
WOLVES: Flatt; Rainey, O’Hanlon, Weeks, Iorfa, Swan, Bancessi, Torras (Erdei 86), Keita, Rowe (Kellerman HT), Hunte (Reid 63). Subs not used: Dutton, Carter.
GOALS: ALBION – A Nabi (30), Howkins (70|); WOLVES – Bancessi (47).
BOOKINGS: ALBION – A Nabi (foul 48), Atkinson (foul 57); WOLVES – None.
REFEREE: R Ellis-Massey (West Midlands).
ALBION STARMAN: Adil Nabi.