ALBION’s under-23s were narrowly defeated 3-2 by Southampton despite an encouraging performance down on the south coast.
James Shan’s team went into the game off the back of two wins in a row, but found themselves behind inside eight minutes when Tyreke Johnson tapped in from close range for the home side.
The Baggies hit back five minutes later, though, when Nick Clayton-Phillips’ fantastic cross was headed in by Nathan Ferguson.
But the scores weren’t level for long as Sam McQueen hammered home a free-kick from range on 18 minutes to put the Saints back in front.
Albion went close to equalising through Clayton-Phillips and Jonathan Leko as they dominated the remainder of the first half but just couldn’t find another goal before the break.
Shortly after half time Michael Obafemi hit the post for Southampton, and then they did manage to score their third of the evening when Aaron O’Driscoll squeezed a low shot past Alex Palmer.
Callum Morton handed the Baggies a lifeline with 68 minutes on the clock after he was brought down inside the box before dusting himself down and cooly dispatching the penalty.
Shan’s men threw everything at the Saints in the final ten minutes, and almost grabbed a well-deserved point when Alex Bradley’s effort was tipped over with a minute to go, but it unfortunately just wasn’t mean to be.
ALBION: Palmer, McCourt, Ferguson, Jameson, Meredith; Clayton-Phillips (E Pierce 80), Harper, Field, Leko; Azaz (Bradley 57), Morton.
Substitutes: B Pierce, Soleman, Brown.