Albion PL2 2-1 Sunderland PL2

Harry Whitwell.

Albion's PL2 side earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Monday night.

Goals from Jamie Andrews and Harry Whitwell helped Richard Beale's side cement their position in the PL2 Division Two Play-Off places, while first-team centre back Kean Bryan earned a valuable 45 minutes as he continued his return to action from long-term injury.

A bright start for the young Baggies yielded its first chance after Andrews and Rico Richards combined down the left, with the latter cutting back for Whitwell who couldn't quite connect in the six-yard box under pressure from two Sunderland defenders.

At the other end, David Button was on-hand to deny Tom Scott as the visitors looked to cap off a quick counter attack with the opener.

Albion came close once again after 20 minutes, with Rico Richards picking out Evan Humphries bursting forward. He took a touch before firing a deflected effort at goal, only for Daniel Cameron to deny him with a brilliant reaction save to keep the scores level.

Albion began to pile the pressure on heading towards the interval, with Whitwell firing straight at Cameron before Fenton Heard struck the underside of the bar after another tidy move from midfield.

The subsequent corner kick then found Ethan Ingram at the far post, but his headed effort was well-saved as Sunderland looked to keep Albion at bay.

The visitors' resolve didn't last until the break though, and it was Andrews who would hand Albion the lead in the 34th minute, firing home a stunning strike off the crossbar and into the back of the net from the edge of the area to take a deserved lead.

The Baggies should've doubled their advantage soon after, but Heard fired inches wide following good work from Rico Richards inside the box to ensure Albion's advantage remained at just one goal going into the break.

Albion began the second half with the same vigour in which they finished the first, and that soon paid off as the hosts doubled their advantage five minutes after the break.

Pouncing on the Black Cats deep in the final third, Albion robbed the ball before teeing up Whitwell to send a thumping finish into the back of the net - providing more comfortable viewing for Beale's side in regards to the scoreline.

The Baggies were threatening a third, but it was the visitors who would get a foothold against the run of play on the hour mark, Owen Robinson firing into the top corner from inside the box after a quick counter.

Beale's men had a golden chance to restore their two-goal lead with 25 minutes remaining after Eseosa Sule was played clean through on goal, but his finish was too close to the goalkeeper and the opportunity went begging.

Sunderland then had their own chance to level through Jake Waters, but having been played in on goal he couldn't find the bottom corner to hand the Baggies a reprieve with less than ten minutes remaining.

Whitwell and Rico Richards each had chances to seal the points in added time, but neither could find the back of the net before the full-time whistle.

Nevertheless, Albion held on to secure a crucial three points - a result which leaves them fifth in the final Play-Off spot with just two games remaining.

Albion: Button; Hall, Ingram (Nguepissi 51), Bryan (Harper-Bailey 45), Humphries; M.Richards, Andrews ©️ (Sule 51), Whitwell, R.Richards; Heard (Wangusi 69), Love (Nelson 51).

  • PL2