Albion's PL2 team suffered a frustrating defeat against Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday afternoon.
Layton Love had given Richard Beale's men the lead midway through the first half, but Adian Manning levelled matters on the stroke of half-time and added his second - with the help of a big deflection - after the break to turn the game around and keep the points in East Anglia.
Despite losing Alex Williams and Jamal Mohammed to injury heading into the contest, there was a positive development in the starting XI - with Josh Shaw starting his first U21s match since November 2022.
The hosts took the game to the Baggies’ academy charges in front of the home crowd. There were bookings for Fenton Heard and Aaron Harper-Bailey as the visitors fought to prevent any major threat to their goal.
There were no clear-cut opportunities for City, though, during the opening quarter of the clash. However, the same couldn’t be said for Albion’s 21s, who took the lead bang on the 20-minute mark.
It was all down to fine work by skipper Reece Hall, who burst upfield from deep down the right flank to get the ball into the area, where target man Love was waiting to force a strike into the bottom corner for his second of the PL2 campaign.
Norwich had the experience of first-team defender Danny Batth to thank for stopping the Baggies’ youngsters adding a second, with the centre-back putting his 400+ professional appearances to good use by heading Deago Nelson's goal-bound header off the line and stopping any potential follow-up.
Unfortunately, the away team couldn’t hold their control over proceedings heading in at the break. A City counter saw goalkeeper Ronnie Hollingshead save Emmanuel Adegboyega’s initial effort, before substitute Manning netted the rebound from close range.
Although Wales youth international keeper Hollingshead made a good start to the second period, parrying Kenneth Aboh’s effort to safety, he could do nothing to stop the home team turning the game around after a wicked deflection helped double Manning’s tally for the afternoon.
The Baggies responded well and only some smart saves from Norwich shot-stopper Vicente Reyes denied Love and Heard from restoring parity in East Anglia.
But the home team held onto their advantage, meaning Albion's young pros fell to a third straight Premier League 2 defeat.
Albion: Hollingshead; Nelson, Hall ©️, Mfuamba, Harper-Bailey, Shaw (Phillips 60); Richards, Whitwell (Walker 79); Heard (Bostock 78), Higgins, Love (Sule 78).
Substitutes: Brady (GK).