Reyes Cleary's second-half strike earned Albion's PL2 side a hard-fought victory over Derby County at Keys Park on Friday night.
Mo Faal's effort after just six minutes gave the young Baggies the lead going in at the halfway stage, and even though Joe Haigh levelled proceedings midway through the second half, Cleary found the winner to seal all three points for Richard Beale's men in Premier League 2 Division 2.
Target man Faal said prior to the game he was keen to improve his goals tally and in the opening 10 minutes of the match, he did just that.
With the first chance of the game, the hosts applied the pressure on the edge of the visitors’ penalty area, allowing Faal to rob possession and finish low past Harrison Foulkes in the Rams net.
It could’ve got even better for the Gambian forward just minutes later when he found the opposition keeper off his line. But despite guiding a looping header on target, the 19-year-old's attempt was nodded over by a recovering County defender.
Sonny Blu Lo-Everton sent a speculative effort over and Leigh Kavanagh pushed Ronnie Hollingshead diving into action on one occasion, but Beale’s side used their high press well to force lapses in the Derby defence regularly during the half.
Cleary saw a deflected effort fall into Foulkes’ grasp, both Harry Whitwell and Rico Richards were denied by a brilliant double-save inside the box, before the latter curled a great opportunity to extend the lead over, as Albion’s youngsters went in just 1-0 up at the interval.
The beginning of the second 45 was a different game, with Rams midfielder Haigh seeing his goal-bound shot tipped over the bar by Hollingshead to send the hosts an early warning.
Derby’s attacking joy continued, with Ethan Ingram’s last-ditch tackle preventing Bartosz Cybulski from poaching in and Harrison Solomon heading agonisingly wide from a corner kick.
But the young Baggies had their openings too. Cleary found Foulkes in the way of two fantastic one-on-one opportunities - created as a result of tireless running by the young forward - and his strike-partner, Faal, headed wide inches wide from a set-piece during the early exchanges.
Nevertheless, County would be rewarded for their strong approach to the second half by netting an equaliser - Haigh running unchallenged into the box before finishing past Hollingshead to level matters.
The scores didn’t remain level for long, though, as Reyes finally got his goal, curling a short corner routine into the net past an unsighted Derby keeper to give Albion the lead once again.
County piled the pressure on as the game entered the closing stages and Beale's men had goalkeeper Hollingshead to thank for preserving the points, after the Wales youth international produced a fine save to stop another leveller and hand the youngsters their second league win of the campaign.
Albion: Hollingshead; Nguepissi, Harper-Bailey, Ashworth; Ingram, Whitwell (Wangusi 84), Andrews ©, Shaw; R.Richards (Mitchell 65), Faal (Malcolm 65), Cleary.
Substitutes: Cisse, M.Richards.