Baggies beaten on the south coast
ALBION fell to a 2-1 defeat at Torquay United in the final game of their four-day tour of the West Country.
Second-half goals from Callum Hall and Brett Williams sealed the win for the hosts in front of a good crowd at Plainmoor, with almost 700 Baggies fans making the trip down to the English Riviera.
Summer-signing Matt Phillips pulled one back in impressive fashion late on but Tony Pulis’ men were unable to find an equaliser, with each of Torquay’s goalkeepers making a string of fine saves.
There were positives for the club’s Academy with left-back Kane Wilson, 16, and central-midfielder Sam Field, 18, delivering solid performances in the driving rain on the south coast.
Craig Gardner had the game’s first shot in anger when he fired just over from 20 yards on nine minutes.
United keeper Brendan Moore was on hand to tip away Jonathan Leko’s 35th-minute dipping effort from the right corner of the penalty area.
The hosts came close to scoring on 39 but Jamie Reid sent his diving header inches wide of the back post from Aman Verma’s right-wing cross.
Gardner again tested Moore four minutes before the interval with the Torquay stopper diving to his right to parry a stinging 20-yard drive.
Callum Hall put the visitors in front in spectacular fashion seven minutes after the restart when he slammed the ball inside the right post from 25 yards.
Brett Williams broke free to fire past Foster and double Torquay’s lead on 59.
Craig Dawson headed Gardner’s corner against the crossbar four minutes later as the Baggies continued to pile pressure on the Gulls.
Matt Phillips’ swerving 75th-minute strike from range hit the woodwork before landing in the away end.
Phillips got his goal six minutes later, controlling Darren Fletcher’s sublime 40-yard ball over the top, before blasting past substitute keeper Jamie Robba from 12 yards.
Albion were so nearly level 60 seconds later but Robba pulled off an excellent save to keep out Saido Berahino’s low drive.
James Morrison fired over from eight yards with three minutes remaining after McClean broke down the left to provide the cut-back.
ALBION: Foster; Chester, McAuley (Dawson HT), Evans (Olsson HT), Wilson; Gardner, Field (Phillips 69), Morrison; Leko (Fletcher HT), Rondon (Berahino HT), McClean.
Subs not used: Myhill; Yacob.