Evan Ferguson scored his eighth goal of the season but Albion went down 2-1 to Everton in a lively Premier League 2 game at Goodison Park on Monday.
The 17-year-old striker struck with a wonderful top-corner strike 11 minutes from time.
First-half goals from Lewis Dobbin and Reece Welch had put Everton in control but Albion mounted a strong fightback in the second half on Merseyside.
Jack Spong’s corner was cleared off the line just before the break and Ferguson hit the post as Albion dominated but the equaliser they deserved eluded Albion and it ended in a first defeat in five games for Andrew Crofts’ men.
The home side were the sharper from the start and gave Albion a warning in the 19th minute when Ryan Astley flicked on Dobbin’s cross and his header came back off the underside of the bar.
Albion were struggling to deal with Dobbin’s pace and skill down the right and two minutes later he put Everton in front, gliding past James Furlong as he cut inside before drilling a low shot past Tom McGill into the far corner.
Albion had strong penalty claims turned down when Kyle John appeared to barge Cam Peupion off the ball but Everton doubled their lead on the half-hour when defender Reece Welch rose unmarked to power a corner by Rhys Hughes into the bottom corner.
McGill then made two important saves to deny Dobbin before Albion’s best moment of the half came in stoppage time when Jack Spong’s inswinging corner eluded everyone and needed to be cleared off the line by Ryan Astley.
Albion began the second half with a lot more intensity and after a great passing move Ferguson forced keeper Harry Tyrie to save with his feet at the near post after Furlong had picked him out with a lovely pass down the flank.
The teenager even closer in the 51st minute when he swept a shot from inside the D against the left-hand upright after Lorent Tolaj played Odel Offiah’s cross into his path.
Albion were pushing hard to get back in the game and Spong thought he’d scored with a right foot shot from the edge of the box but it flashed half a yard wide of the post. Ferguson had done well in the build-up to find Leonard whose neat lay-off set up the shooting opportunity.
Tyrie made another decent stop to hold Spong’s shot as Albion probed for a way back into the game before the goal they deserved came in the 79th minute. Ferguson ran at the home defence, shuffled the ball onto his right foot and swept a shot from the edge of the box into the top right-hand corner.
Tyrie made another important save to keep out Peupion’s low drive as Albion pressed for an equaliser and it should have come in stoppage time when Ed Turns’ header found Ulrick Ella but the substitute skewed his effort wide from eight yards and Albion were heading for only their third League defeat of the season.
Albion: McGill, Offiah, Tsoungui, Turns, Peupion, Hinchy (Miller 79), Spong, Leonard, Furlong, Tolaj (sub: Ella 72), Ferguson. Subs: Desbois, Packham, Dicker.