Albion geared up for a PL2 Division 2 Play-Off semi-final against Nottingham Forest with an impressive 2-1 victory over Leeds United at the club’s Walsall training ground on Friday afternoon.
The Baggies, who had already secured fourth spot and a shot at promotion to the top tier, scored early in the first 45 through Layton Love and late in the second period courtesy of Eseosa Sule's spectacular strike, ruining the Whites’ hopes of sealing automatic promotion and lifting the title.
Richard Beale’s side went ahead as early as the 13th minute when Fenton Heard’s delicate dink bounced back off the post into the path of Love, with the towering striker smashing the ball into the back of the net from close range.
The visitors, who needed just a point to win the league, managed to grab an equaliser ten minutes later when Sonny Perkins poked the ball home from six yards having been picked out by Charlie Allen.
Chances were limited for the remainder of the half, but there were plenty after the break.
Perkins fired over from inside the box and Baggies stopper Ronnie Hollingshead made a brilliant save to deny Archie Gray who was through on goal.
At the other end, Love nodded wide of the post before Ethan Ingram forced Dani Van Den Heuvel into a good save down low.
The winning goal came ten minutes from the end, and what a strike it was too. Substitute Eseosa Sule picked up a loose ball inside the Leeds half, cut in from the left and rifled the ball into the corner from 30 yards.
The visitors frantically tried to find an equaliser, but Mateo Joseph saw a deflected effort thwarted by Hollingshead and Dairko Gyabi’s effort failed to hit the target.
There was further frustration for the title-chasers too as Diogo Monteiro crashed the crossbar deep into injury-time as they missed out on automatic promotion and were made to settle for the Play-Offs.
A date for Albion’s semi-final showdown with Nottingham Forest will be communicated with supporters once it has been confirmed.
ALBION: Hollingshead, Hall (Sule 49), Harper-Bailey, Nguepissi, Humphries, Ingram, Whitwell (A.Williams HT), Andrews (Mfuamba HT), R.Richards, Love, Heard.
Unused substitutes: Cisse (GK), Mohammed.