Premier League Cup: Albion 3-0 Huddersfield Town

Reyes Cleary.

Richard Beale's young Baggies put in a dominant display at Hednesford Town to boost their PL Cup hopes with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town on Monday afternoon.

Three first half strikes were enough to claim the spoils, with Reyes Cleary netting either side of a Rico Richards goal to earn a deserved win over the Terriers.

Albion threatened the visitors' goal in the opening three minutes, with Cleary winning a free kick in a dangerous area, which skipper Zac Ashworth fired marginally over amid blustery conditions in Staffordshire.

It wasn't long until the early pressure paid off, after Cleary was played through on goal in the seventh minute before dinking a cute finish past the on-rushing goalkeeper to take a deserved lead.

Jovan Malcolm also caused the visitors countless problems throughout the first half, seeing one strike come close, before heading a second effort just over the bar.

But the second goal soon came for Richard Beale's side, and it was via Richards. He started a brilliant move in midfield, playing wide before making his way into the area to latch onto Cleary's pass to fire into the bottom corner.

Kenneth Zohore and Cleary both came close to a third, with each of them striking the crossbar in a matter of minutes as the hosts continued to assert their dominance.

Richards too was also guilty of spurning a chance to add to the first-half lead after finding more space in the penalty area only to fire over.

The third soon found its way into the back of the net, with Cleary doubling his personal tally with a well-placed free kick from 25 yards out which goalkeeper Michael Acquah couldn't keep out.

Ted Cann in goal had only fleeting work to deal with in the first 45, but was quick to react to deny Huddersfield a way back into the game with a smart save from Connor Shanks after he wriggled free in the Albion box.

Cleary could had a brilliant opportunity to seal a hat-trick in first-half stoppage time, but saw his goalbound effort cleared off the line before the referee called time on the first 45.

The second half started with the same fervour as the first, with Albion coming close to a fourth with two Zohore efforts.

It was the visitors who would come closest to getting a goal back in the early stages of the half though, with Cann on-hand to save at point blank range before the Terriers struck the post from the edge of the box.

Albion were still threatening to extend their lead, and substitute Ramello Mitchell could consider himself unfortunate not to add to the scoresheet after dragging a shot from just inside the area wide just after the hour mark.

The visitors pushed to find a route back into the game, but Cann was once again there to deny them after reacting well to get a hand to a deflected effort which looked set to nestle in the Baggies net.

Albion could've added to the lead once again through Richards' hard work, with the youngster nipping in to steal the ball from the Huddersfield back line, only to see his attempted chip go just inches over the bar.

Mitchell earned himself another chance to get in the goals after running through late on, but his effort flew straight across the face of goal as he eyed the far corner.

Both sides played out the final minutes with little fanfare as the goalless second half ensured Albion's PL Cup hopes received a much-needed boost.

The result lifts Beale's side to second place in Group C, level on points with Middlesbrough who hold a game in hand.

Albion: Cann, Ingram, Ashworth (c), Hall, Nguepissi, Harper-Bailey, Malcolm (Mitchell), Mfuamba, Zohore, R. Richards, Cleary.

Subs not used: Nelson, Foster, Oluwatobi, Sumnall

  • PL Cup