West Bromwich Albion 2 (Nabi 30, Howkins 70)
Wolves 1 (Bancessi 49)
It was a close run thing but West Bromwich edged a competitive Under 21s derby at The Hawthorns in a game that provided a host of chances for both sides.
In the opening stages Tommy Rowe intercepted the ball in midfield and raced to the edge of the box before being crowded out. He managed to find Ibrahim Keita who won a corner but Eusebio Bancessi’s kick was headed clear.
A minute later it was Albion’s turn for a flag-kick after Declan Weeks cleared behind from Brown Ideye. Kemar Roofe’s corner didn’t cause the visitors defence any undue problems.
Liam O’Neil headed over the bar after Roofe lifted in a free-kick from the left, and then Rowe went on a 30-yard run before dragging a low shot wide of the far post.
Ben O’Hanlon released Albert Torres to the left of the Baggies box and his cross found the unmarked Connor Hunte on the far side. He knocked the ball down but then drove it into the side netting.
As the half reached its midway point, Albion almost unlocked the visitors defence. Adil Nabi played the ball inside to Jonathan Leko and he laid it off to Ideye who, from eight-yards, hit a fierce effort that was superbly blocked by trialist George Swan.
Albion took the lead in the 30th minute. Nabi turned his marker deep inside the Wolves box and he curled a shot that bounced back off the face of the bar. It fell to Bradley Garmston who hammered a low cross that fell to Nabi who, this time, made no mistake with a low angled shot.
It took a good save from Baggies keeper Jack Rose just five minutes later to deny Wolves an equaliser. Bancessi fired in a free-kick and when the ball dropped at Swan’s feet he thumped the ball towards goal only for Rose to save with an outstretched leg.
Twice as the half approached its conclusion Garmston was close to increasing Albion’s advantage – first with a viscous cross-shot that flew across the face of goal, and then with a drive from the right-hand corner of the area that was inches too high.
Half-Time: Albion 1 Wolves 0
Rowe, who was playing his first football since picking up a foot injury shortly after his arrival at Molineux, was replaced at half-time having showed some impressive touches before the break.
The half began with a booking for Nabi who pulled back Hunt before Wolves drew level in the 49th minute. Kyle Howkins played a square ball through his own area and he obviously didn’t spot Bancessi who ran in to smash the ball past Rose.
O’Neil went into the book for a foul with Hunt once again the victim and then it took a last ditch tackle from Dominic Iorfa to prevent Roofe having a clear sight of goal.
Roofe went close with a low shot that took a deflection on its way past the post before both sides made a change – Bradley Reid replacing Hunt for Wolves.
Albion retook the lead in the 70th minute when Howkins atoned for his earlier lapse, heading in off the post following a Nabi free-kick from the right of the box.
Just a minute later it took a full length save from Rose to deny Torras an instant equaliser and then Reid drilled a low cross right through the heart of the Albion goalmouth.
Garmston wasted an easy chance in the 81st minute when he fired over an open goal after Roofe had sent in a short cross.
In stoppage time Keita found himself with just the keeper to beat but the striker’s shot was too close to Rose who saved.
Albion: Rose, Atkinson, Davidson, O’Neil, McCauley (capt), Howkins, Leko (Barrow 69), Nabi (Pace 88), Ideye, Roofe, Garmston (Kandi 85).
Unused subs: Palmer, Donnellan.
Wolves: Flatt (capt), Rainey, O’Hanlon, Weeks, Iorfa, Swan, Bancessi, Torras (Erdei 85), Keita, Rowe (Kellerman 45), Hunt (Reid 63).
Unused subs: Dutton, Carter.
Referee: R. Ellis-Massey.