ALBION’s under-23s were narrowly beaten 3-2 by an experienced Middlesbrough side in a Premier League 2 Division Two clash at Aggborough.
The away team made the stronger start and took the lead inside three minutes when Ashley Fletcher’s header was cleared off the line, only for Sam Stubbs to convert the rebound.
It didn’t take the young Baggies long to respond, though, as Callum Morton drew his side level thanks to a deflected long-range strike that looped past goalkeeper Brad James.
Albion finished the half strongly and had chances to go into the break ahead, but Kyle Edwards couldn’t find a finish after a superb individual run and Nathan Ferguson nodded Jonathan Leko’s corner just wide.
After the restart Middlesbrough went back in front on 53 minutes through Fletcher’s effort, and that lead was then extended on 71 minutes when Marcus Tavernier powerfully lashed the ball past Jonathan Bond.
Jamie Smith’s side did give themselves a glimmer of hope as the game went into stoppage time as Rekeem Harper struck a low shot superbly into the bottom left corner from outside the area, but Boro withheld a late Albion barrage to claim all three points.
ALBION: Bond, Meredith, Ferguson, Howkins (Tulloch 73), Healy, Harmon; Wilding (c), Harper; Leko, Morton, Edwards.
Substitutes: Pierce, Azaz, Clayton-Phillips, Rogers.