Albion and Blackburn Rovers played out an entertaining 3-3 PL2 draw at The Hawthorns on Monday evening.
The first 45 minutes produced two goals for each team, with Kevin Mfuamba and Trialist on target for the Baggies and Harley O’Grady-Macken and Tom Bloxham finding the net for Blackburn, while stopper Ted Cann also kept out an Ethan Walker penalty.
Half-time substitute Layton Love’s tidy finish put the hosts back in front midway through the second period, but Blackburn’s Harrison Wood squeezed in a late leveller to send his side home with a point.
The Baggies broke the deadlock after just 13 minutes and in spectacular fashion too. Midfielder Mfuamba hit an unbelievable first-time volley from 25 yards beyond the reach of Rovers goalkeeper Joe Hilton, with the ball flying into the bottom corner of the net.
However the visitors responded instantly and caught Albion out at the back. Striker O’Grady-Macken raced clear, pushed the ball past Cann and slotted into an empty net from the right side of the area.
Blackburn almost took the lead shortly after the half-hour mark when Kristi Montgomery lifted the ball over the head of Cann, only to see his effort bounce back into play off the post.
They then squandered an even better chance to score. Ethan Walker was tripped in the box by Baggies skipper Reece Hall, but the Rovers No.11’s spot-kick was poor and Cann was able to save. Walker had the goal gaping on the rebound, but he didn’t make clean contact and ended up slicing the ball onto the roof of the net.
The away side did find a way through though four minutes before the half-time whistle. Blackburn took full advantage of an indirect free-kick from eight-yards-out, with Tom Bloxham crashing the ball high into the corner.
But there was still time for one final piece of telling action in the opening period. Richard Beale’s boys won possession on the edge of Rovers’ box, resulting in Harry Whitwell getting a strike off. It was an attempt which Hilton parried straight into the path of Trialist, who had the simple job of tapping in from 12 yards.
Both teams pushed for the game’s fifth goal after the restart. The hosts had a number of free-kicks around the 25-yard mark, but Layton Love and Jovan Malcolm weren’t able to find the target.
At the other end of the pitch, Charlie Weston forced Cann into a smart save from close range after Blackburn broke down the left flank.
Albion produced a moment of real quality with 19 minutes remaining. Substitutes Akeel Higgins and Layton Love combined, with the latter poking home from the edge of the six-yard-box having met Higgins’ perfectly-weighted left-wing delivery.
It looked as though Beale’s group were heading for a second consecutive win at the start of the campaign, but Blackburn dug deep and ground out an equaliser inside the final five. Harrison Wood, who himself had started the evening on the bench, forced the ball under Cann from a tight angle to earn a draw.
ALBION: Cann, Hall, Phillips, Harper-Bailey, Williams, Mfuamba (Richards 70), Whitwell, Heard, Tulloch (Higgins HT), Trialist (Love HT), Malcolm (Nelson 88).