Premier League Cup: Middlesbrough 2-1 Albion

Jovan Malcolm in action v Boro in the PL Cup

Albion's PL2 side fell to a narrow defeat against Middlesbrough in their second Premier League Cup group stage match at Heritage Park on Monday night. 

Goals from Pharrell Willis and Callum Kavanagh were enough for Boro to secure victory, and although Jovan Malcolm headed in a late response it would only prove to be a consolation, as the young Baggies left empty-handed.

Credit: Tom Banks (Middlesbrough FC)

The weather had a major impact on proceedings, with the wind making it difficult to form any flowing moves during the game. 

Unfortunately, the hosts won the toss meaning the visitors were kicking against the wind during the first 45, and the effects of the elements quickly started to benefit Boro. 

Joseph Gibson struck the post in the opening minute, and Albion's trialist shot-stopper was called upon several times to keep the scores level.

The boys from the Black Country struggled to get the ball out of their own half, and the home side's domination eventually told when Ethan Ingram failed to clear a cross into the box, allowing left winger Willis to curl in the opener and put Middlesbrough ahead at the interval.

Middlesbrough PL Cup report
Credit: Tom Banks (Middlesbrough FC)

After a first half to forget, the second 45 saw Albion's youngsters create more openings on the break. 

But it nearly got worse for them early doors when Reece Hall conceded a penalty. Thankfully, though, Kavanagh struck his spot-kick wide to give the Baggies hope of a turnaround, and substitute Mo Faal probably deserved the same opportunity Boro got at the other end. 

The Gambian forward looked set to latch onto a splitting through ball inside the hosts' 18-yard-box, but despite obvious contact sending him to ground from a retreating defender, the referee waved away any appeals for an Albion penalty. 

And Middlesbrough forward Kavanagh would soon make them pay and amend his missed opportunity from the spot, scrambling home a second to all but confirm victory for Mark Tinkler's Teesside outfit. 

Faal and Malcolm both saw goal-bound efforts blocked before the latter nodded Akeel Higgins' cross in to make it 2-1 in the third minute of injury time. But it came too late to force a fightback, as the Baggies' young stars suffered their first defeat in the competition. 

Albion: Trialist (gk); Ingram, Harper-Bailey, Ashworth; Williams (N.Phillips 83), Andrews ©, Hall (Nguepissi 60), Shaw; R.Richards (Higgins 78), Malcolm, Wangusi (Faal 60).

Substitutes: Hudd (gk).

  • PL Cup