Brown and Berahino on scoresheet for Baggies
BROWN Ideye and Saido Berahino were both on target as Albion triumphed 2-1 at Charleston Battery in the second match of the club’s pre-season tour of the USA.
Tony Pulis’ side were given another solid workout in South Carolina – with temperatures reaching 28c and humidity over 90% - as they continued to step up their preparations for the new Barclays Premier League season.
Albion spurned a couple of good chances during a dominant first period before fit-again Berahino opened the scoring with a well-taken finish in the 42nd minute, coming after a neat one-two with Victor Anichebe.
The hosts enjoyed some good openings of their own and duly pulled level just before the hour mark courtesy of Navion Boyd’s sweeping finish from the edge of the penalty area.
But unmarked Ideye’s low glancing header from Craig Gardner’s free-kick secured victory in the 82nd minute in front of a healthy 5,020 at the Blackbaud Stadium.
Pulis used a total of 19 players throughout the encounter, Albion’s third of pre-season to date and first triumph following defeats against Red Bull Salzburg and Orlando City – although the Baggies head coach has always been keen to stress it is a case of match fitness over results.
The friendly brings an end to Albion’s brief stay in Charleston – where they have been given the warmest of welcomes – and the Baggies now head to Richmond, Virginia for the final match of their three-game tour.
Berahino started having fully recovered from the knee injury which forced him to miss England duty at this summer’s European Under-21 Championships.
Stephane Sessegnon, meanwhile, was an unused substitute having arrived in the USA a matter of hours before the match following visa clearance.
Albion started very brightly, dominating possession in the early stages, and enjoyed two great opportunities to break the deadlock.
Firstly, Berahino saw his header from Gardner’s cross cleared off the line by Shawn Ferguson before Craig Dawson, from close range, nodded the impressive James McClean’s corner over the crossbar.
Anichebe wasted a further good chance to open the scoring when he headed a left-wing cross wide of target.
Berahino was denied by a last-ditch challenge by Taylor Mueller before Charleston enjoyed their first opportunity, and a golden one it was, Maikel Chang blasting high over the crossbar having surged through the visiting defence.
Justin Portillo sent a free-kick over the crossbar in the 35th minute as the Baggies went through a sloppy period of play.
But they finally got the goal they deserved shortly before half-time as Berahino exchanged passes with Anichebe and fired home from ten yards.
Pulis introduced Claudio Yacob, Brown Ideye, Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt at half-time in place of Berahino, Anichebe, Jonas Olsson and James Morrison.
And it was the hosts who duly levelled in the 57th minute when Boyd lashed home Dante Marini’s cross from the edge of the penalty area.
The Baggies were indebted to Boaz Myhill just minutes later as he made a point-blank save to deny Heviel Cordoves.
Adil Nabi, Liam O’Neil and Jack Fitzwater were introduced to the fold either side of Yacob this time coming to Albion’s rescue with a perfectly timed last-ditch tackle to keep out Cordoves.
McClean’s free-kick found the target but failed to seriously trouble the scoreline.
Yet an unmarked Ideye did just that with eight minutes remaining as he got down low to nod home Gardner’s free-kick and secure victory.
Albion: Myhill, Dawson (Donnellan 78’), Lescott (Fitzwater 69’), Olsson (McAuley 45’), McClean, Gardner, Fletcher (O’Neil 64’), Morrison (Brunt 45’), McManaman (Nabi 64’), Berahino (Yacob 45’), Anichebe (Ideye 45’).
Subs: Rose, Sessegnon, Pocognoli.
GOALS: Berahino 42’, Ideye 82’
BOOKED: McClean (foul 45’), Nabi (foul 90’)
CHARLESTON GOAL: Boyd 57’
Albion star man: James McClean