Albion under-23s secured a first win in six as they comfortably defeated Southampton 3-0 in Premier League 2 at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre on Friday.
Albion cruised to a 2-0 lead in the first half courtesy of efforts from Teddy Jenks and Danny Cashman, with Jenks adding a third with ten minutes to go to kill off any hope of a fightback.
Joint managers Andrew Crofts and Shannon Ruth included Florin Andone, Moises Caicedo and Michal Karbownik in their starting XI and it was a first Albion appearance for the Romanian since the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign.
Unfortunately, it would prove to be a short-lived return from a long-term knee injury for the 27-year-old though as an injury saw Andone replaced after 13 minutes by Evan Ferguson.
Eight minutes later Albion took a deserved lead. Cashman's intelligent cutting pass found Jenks and the hosts’ leading scorer made no mistake as he fired across the face of goal into the bottom left corner for his sixth of the PL2 campaign.
Lars Dendoncker was inches away from doubling their advantage when his header was cleared off the line, but Albion had their second just before the 30-minute mark when Cashman hammered past Jack Bycroft when played through on goal.
The forward was guilty of missing a great opportunity just moments later when James Furlong crossed expertly from the left, but Cashman’s header from six yards out flew over the crossbar.
While Cashman’s exploits caught the eye on the attacking front, Caicedo’s intelligence in and out of possession in front of the defence was keeping the Albion engine room ticking along nicely.
The Ecuadorian is yet to make a first team appearance for his new club, but the 19-year-old looks like he is settling well as he continues his development with the under-23s.
With Carl Rushworth not having to make a save until the 80th minute – a daisy cutter from Kazeem Olaigbe that the Albion stopper had no issue dealing with – Albion remained in control and Jenks rounded off the scoring a minute later, tucking the ball into the bottom right corner from Karbownik's pullback.
Albion’s position in Premier League 2 remains the same (9th), but they move nine points clear of the bottom three.
Albion: Rushworth, Karbownik, Wakely, Dendoncker, Turns, Furlong, Caicedo, Leonard (Spong 71), Jenks, Cashman, Andone (Ferguson 13).
Unused subs: Desbois, Yapi, Tanimowo.