Albion’s youngsters suffered a frustrating night in West Yorkshire, falling to a narrow defeat against Huddersfield Town at The John Smith’s Stadium on Friday evening.
Brodie Spencer’s second-half effort proved to be the game’s only goal, and although Reyes Cleary cracked the inside of the post in the dying embers, the Baggies’ U21s couldn’t find a leveller and returned to B71 off the back of two straight defeats in the Premier League Cup.
Richard Beale’s men made a bright start in the opening minutes and could’ve been ahead, with attacker Cleary poking an effort narrowly past the target despite Jovan Malcolm being in a better shooting position to breach the Terriers’ goal.
But the visitors failed to make their positive early showing count and, consequently, were nearly punished by the hosts on numerous occasions, as Jon Worthington’s regularly exploited the Baggies on the break.
Connor Shanks rattled the post from the edge of the area before firing the rebound over, while Charles Ondo forced Ronnie Hollingshead into a smart stop before the lineman’s flag denied Luke Daley from tapping in the loose ball.
Rico Richards would see the half’s best chance fall his way, though, when an Albion attack down the left saw him receive the box in space. After dummying a flying Town defender, room appeared for the attacker to take aim.
Sadly, he could only blaze a shot over as the sides went in level at the interval.
If the first 45 was evenly contested, the second was anything but - with Huddersfield taking the game to Albion from the off.
And Terriers captain Spencer made sure they found the breakthrough, bursting forward from deep to receive a one-two inside the area, before poking past Hollingshead in the Baggies net to hand the home side a deserved opener.
Town could’ve easily extended their advantage, with Ondo and Brahima Diarra squandering valuable chances on the break. But the Baggies did more than enough to warrant a share of the spoils.
Richards’ curling effort was tipped over bar as Beale’s men found space in behind towards the end of the game, and they so nearly went home with a point when Cleary did brilliantly to force himself into the area and push the ball past Nicholas Bilokapic in the Huddersfield goal.
Sadly, his shot bounced off the inside of the post before being scrambled away, as the Baggies suffered another tough defeat in the PL Cup.
Albion: Hollingshead; Ingram, Hall, Harper-Bailey (Nguepissi 62), Ashworth ©, Whitwell, Mfuamba, R.Richards; Higgins (Wangusi 73, Malcolm, Cleary.