West Bromwich Albion 1 (Roofe 74)
A tremendous strike from West Bromwich’s Kemar Roofe denied the Wolves under 21s the point they deserved from a tightly contested match at The Hawthorns.
The game saw new signing Lee Evans making a confident debut whilst Stephen Hunt continued his battle for full match fitness after his lengthy lay off.
There was little threat to either goal in the opening 20 minutes though the game was played at a frenetic pace. Sam Whittall headed over following Hunt’s free-kick after Jack Price had been fouled to the right of the Albion box, and Romaine Sawyers tested Dorus De Vries with an angled drive.
New boy Evans was showing some neat touches in the heart of midfield and he presented Liam McAlinden with a half chance when he headed on Hunt’s through pass. But the ball ran away from the striker and out of play.
McAlinden, at full stretch, just failed to reach a dangerous centre from Hunt and, at the other end, Samir Nabi was way too high with a shot on the turn.
In the 34th minute, an excellent tackle by Jamie Tank on Roofe prevented the Albion man from having a clear sight at goal before Adil Nabi fired narrowly over from just inside the visitors area.
Two minutes before the break, Jamie Reckord cleared a James Hurst shot from in front of the line following a Roofe corner from the left. De Vries looked to have the ball covered anyway.
In stoppage time a 30-yard free-kick from Hunt flew over the angle.
Half-Time: Albion 0 Wolves 0
Hunt was replaced by Zeli Ismail at the start of the second-half which was in its fifth minute when Roofe fired a tame 20-yarder at De Vries.
A pacey move involving Sam Winnall and Ismail ended with a low effort from Price being saved by Baggies keeper Luke Daniels and almost immediately De Vries was in action with a smart save as he claimed Adil Nabi’s header after a cross from brother Samir.
In the 59th minute, Ismail’s pace took him past his marker and into the Albion box. He pulled the ball back for Price who hammered a low shot towards goal only for Aaron Birch to block and clear.
Decent crosses from Ismail and Reckord were cleared by the home defence and Michael Ihiekwe made a last ditch tackle to deny Adil Nabi when Albion threatened.
But the Baggies moved into a 74th minute lead when Roofe unleashed a tremendous shot from 25-yards that flew past the helpless De Vries.
Wolves went in search of an equaliser and it almost arrived when Reckord floated a free-kick into the Albion box but Ihiekwe’s glancing header was too high.
A foul by Tom Smart on Jordan Cranston gave Wolves a free-kick near the right hand corner flag. Albion pulled everyman back into their own box and eventually Cranston’s kick was cleared.
In stoppage time De Vries went up for an Ismail corner but Daniels claimed the ball and the Baggies held on for the points.
Albion: Daniels, Hurst, Smart, Birch, O’Neil, Atkinson, Roofe (Wedderburn 85), Allan, Sawyers, A. Nabi, S. Nabi (Brown 75).
Unused subs: Pace, Palmer, Francis.
Wolves: De Vries, Cranston, Reckord, Whittall, Tank, Ihiewke, Price, Evans, McAlinden (Parry 75), Winnall, Hunt (Ismail 45).
Unused subs: Jakobsson, Cotman, Kellerman.
Referee: M. Dexter.