- Albion win again in Premier League 2, defeating fourth-placed Derby County 4-1
- Rams take an early lead before Simon Rusk's men hit three goals in 14 minutes
- Peter Gwargis (2), Teddy Jenks and Taylor Richards on target as Albion stay third in the table
- Under-23s next in action on Tuesday against Worthing in Senior Cup semi-final
Albion produced an impressive fightback to claim their fifth win in six Premier League 2 games after a clinical display against Derby County.
In tough conditions at Derby’s Moor Farm training ground, Albion fell behind early on and the Rams also hit the post before Simon Rusk’s men got into their stride.
Peter Gwargis (2) and Teddy Jenks scored in the space of 14 minutes before the break to give Albion a 3-1 interval lead and they sealed the win that moved them to within second-placed Leicester City when Taylor Richards scored from the rebound after his penalty had been saved midway through the second half.
A strong Albion side included goalkeeper Jason Steele and midfielder Beram Kayal but Steele was picking the ball out of his net after just five minutes. Jahmal Hector-Ingram drifted into space on the edge of the box from the left and beat Steele with a powerful right-foot shot into the top left-hand corner.
Derby could easily have stretched their lead as they made the early running. Archie Davies cleared an effort from Alex Vabos in front of goal and in the 14th minute Rushian Hepburn-Murphy's angled strike hits the post and came out to Cameron Cresswell, but he blazed over from close range.
Albion gradually started to get on top in midfield as Kayal and Romaric Yapi began to threaten and the pair combined to set up the equaliser on 23 minutes. Kayal’s diagonal pass was brilliantly kept in by Yapi on the right touchline and his cross from the byline picked out Gwargis who swept the ball into the corner.
Derby were deflated and Albion took the lead on 31 minutes through Gwargis’s ninth of the season. Jordan Davies’s cross was headed out as far as Alex Cochrane on the left and the defender’s clever cut-back was dispatched confidently by Gwargis.
Albion extended their lead in the 37th minute. Kayal created the goal, winning the ball in midfield and although Derby initially cleared his pass into the danger area, the midfielder teed up Jenks for a super low finish into the bottom left-hand corner from the edge of the box.
Kayal was replaced by Lorent Tolaj at the break and Derby began the second half brightly and hit the woodwork again in the 52nd minute when Cresswell’s header came off the post.
In contrast to the first half both sides struggled to create clear-cut chances as conditions deteriorated and the pitch cut up.
But Albion managed the game well and put the result beyond doubt with 20 minutes to go.
Richards, who had just come on for Gwargis, took Tolaj’s reverse pass in his path but was brought down by Liam Thompson in the box. Richards’ penalty was pushed out by goalkeeper Henrich Ravas but Taylor was quickly onto the loose ball to fire it into an empty net.
Job done and Albion now turn their attentions to the Sussex Senior Cup and next Tuesday’s semi-final against Worthing.
Albion: Steele, A. Davies, Cochrane, Crofts, O’Hora, Roberts, Yapi (Spong 81), Jenks, Gwargis (Richards 66), Kayal (Tolaj 45), J. Davies.
Subs not used: Desbois, Tsoungui.