Albion under-18s were left to rue a slow opening half an hour as they were defeated 5-3 by Aston Villa on Saturday.
After going 4-0 down in the first 27 minutes, Albion responded in the second half with goals from Jack Hinshelwood and Bailey Smith, before Villa added another to their lead.
Marcus Ifill added a late consolation goal, but Villa’s first half blitz proved too big a challenge to overcome for Albion.
Professional development phase coach James Baxter said, “We started very slowly – the boys weren’t up to the intensity and tempo of the game. It was the roles reversed from our 7-1 win over West Brom last week. We created just as many chances as Villa, but they were very clinical.
“We aimed to win the second half, to up the intensity and we did that which was a pleasing aspect. We created a lot of chances and despite us being behind by quite a margin we were still in the game – it could have been 6-6 in the end.
“It’s a good learning curve for our boys, that you can’t expect to start a game like that and then expect to have the chance to pull it back later on.
“We’ve got to learn from it, you’ve got to be at your best and if you’re not you’ll be punished. The higher up the football pyramid you got the more extreme it is – if you make one mistake in the Premier League you’ll more than likely concede. The players learned that the hard way.”