Albion PL2 2 Reading PL2 0

ALBION Under-23s recorded an impressive 2-0 win over Premier League 2 Division Two leaders Reading at the Palm Training Ground on Saturday.

Wes Hoolahan, who played all 90 minutes for Jamie Smith’s men, netted a first-half penalty to put the Baggies in front, with Kyle Edwards providing a sublime lob to seal all three points. 

The visitors arrived in the Black Country with five successive victories to their name and started brightly in wet and windy conditions. Striker Ben House clipped the outside of the post from close range early on, before seeing another first-half effort parried by Jonathan Bond. 

Goalscoring opportunities were few and far between in the opening half hour, but when Sam Wilding was felled by Royals stopper Adam Desbois inside the area on 32 minutes, the Baggies were presented with a chance to go in front from the penalty spot.

Hoolahan exuded the confidence you would expect from a man with 400-plus league appearances to tuck the resulting penalty inside the right upright with consummate ease. 

Edwards doubled the lead for the hosts eight minutes later. The pacy attacker pounced on a mislaid pass from Desbois before showing great composure to lob the Reading keeper from 25 yards.

The storm clouds parted in the second half but Albion were forced to weather a Reading fightback - with Bond making a number of comprehensive saves to record a richly-deserved clean sheet.

Albion’s youngsters displayed mature game management in the final stages to earn their third league win of the campaign in their final fixture before PL2’s winter break. 

ALBION: Bond; Meredith, Trialist (Ferguson HT), Healy, Harmon; Harper, Field, Wilding; Leko, Hoolahan, Edwards (Azaz 76).

Substitutes: Keranovic; Tulloch, Rogers.