GARETH Barry made a return from injury as Albion’s under-21s were narrowly defeated 2-1 in a Checkatrade Trophy game at Macclesfield.
The former England international completed 45 minutes at Moss Rose as Jamie Smith’s side saw their chances of advancing from Northern Group C harshly taken away from them despite another positive showing.
Knowing that a win would have taken them through, the Baggies made an encouraging start and took the lead inside the opening 15 minutes when the impressive Rayhaan Tulloch tucked home from close-range.
But two goals in short succession for Macclesfield completely turned the game around, with Ben Stephens equalising on 19 minutes before Koby Arthur then curled the home team ahead soon after.
Albion came out firing in the second-half and had chances to draw level. Callum Morton shot wide on 65 minutes, Nick Clayton-Phillips saw his effort fly past the post and - late into the match - Tulloch was incredibly unlucky not to find the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
It wasn't to be for the Baggies, though, as Macclesfield held on to claim the win and seal their passage into the second round.
ALBION: Myhill, Ferguson, Howkins, Healy; Meredith, Azaz, Barry (Soule 45), Harmon; Clayton-Phillips, Morton, Tulloch.
Substitutes: Keranovic, Gardner-Hickman, Brown, Ashton.