ALBION’s under-23s suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Southampton in a Premier League 2 Division Two game at St Mary’s Stadium, bringing an end to their six-game unbeaten run.
The home side made a strong start and fired a couple of warning shots to the young Baggies inside the opening 10 minutes as both Callum Slattery and Thomas O’Connor saw efforts go wide.
Alex Palmer kept out Jonathan Afolabi not long after, with Will Smallbone then hitting the wall from a free-kick on the 30-minute mark.
Albion were fortunate not to concede six minutes before the break when Saints defender Christoph Klarer headed past the post.
But on the hour Southampton did go in front through Marcus Barnes after he scrambled the ball home from close-range following a dangerous corner into the penalty area.
Four minutes after the opening goal the away side were unlucky not to equalise, Nathan Ferguson’s goal-bound header cleared away by the Southampton defence.
Jamie Smith’s side piled on the pressure in the final 20 minutes as Nick Clayton-Phillips curled just wide, Callum Morton was inches away from bundling a knock-back in and Rogers’ rifle at goal was bravely blocked.
Southampton’s defence held firm, though, to consign Jamie Smith’s side to a first defeat since September.
ALBION: Palmer, Ferguson, Howkins, Healy (Harmon 88); Meredith, Clayton-Phillips, Harper, Rogers; Tulloch (Azaz 69), Morton, Leko.
Substitutes: Keranovic, Brown, Soule.