Jack Fitzwater also on target in convincing win
ADIL Nabi bagged a second-half brace as Albion Under-21’s produced a terrific display to defeat Arsenal 3-0 in the Barclays U21 Premier League.
Under-18 skipper Jack Fitzwater headed home Nabi’s corner early in the first-half, before the forward hit two goals in five minutes after the break to seal an impressive victory.
James Shan named a relatively young and inexperienced XI to face the Gunners, but they started brightly and almost took the lead in the fourth minute when Adil Nabi’s effort dribbled narrowly wide.
However, it wasn’t long before the youngsters found the back of the net.
Jack Fitzwater rose highest at the back post to nod in Nabi’s corner and score his first goal at Under-21 level after 17 minutes.
Arsenal went in search of an equaliser before the break, but both Dan Crowley and Gedion Zelalem saw their long-range efforts sail over Alex Palmer’s crossbar.
Adil Nabi’s younger brother, Samir, then went close for Albion with a curling effort from inside the penalty area which went just wide of the far post.
But the Baggies soon added a second when trialist Adam Campbell played in Adil Nabi who drilled his shot into the corner from an acute angle.
The hosts were awarded a penalty just five minutes later as substitute Tyler Roberts was brought down inside the area.
Arsenal ‘keeper Matt Macey guessed which side Adil Nabi was going correctly, but was powerless to stop the 21-year-old’s precise spot-kick.
Kyle Edwards almost added a fourth late on after showing quick feet to get away from three defenders, only for Macey to save his attempt from 20-yards with his feet.
It was a result and a performance which pleased Under-21 boss James Shan, but he also admitted that he was delighted with the efforts of the younger members of the squad.
He said: “I said in the preview that I wanted to use the same group of players and look to build on the point gained at Stoke last week.
“I think we did that in abundance today, we were excellent.
“The boys applied themselves brilliantly and they totally deserved their victory.
“I was really impressed with several of the Under-18 players in the squad, most notably Josh Ezewele at right-back and Jack Fitzwater at centre-back.
“Josh has caught my eye with his attacking attributes when I have watched him in the Under-18’s.
"He got forward well today but his defensive work was also very good.
“Jack at the heart of the defence did superbly well.
“He was composed on the ball and talked throughout the game, so I was really impressed.
“The younger lads have added energy to the group so they can be proud of their efforts.”
Albion: Palmer, Ezewele, Fitzwater, Howkins, Garmston, Ward, S.Nabi, A.Nabi (Edwards 76’), Leko (Roberts HT), T.Campbell (Wright 62’), A.Campbell.
Unused subs: Ross, Hallahan.