Match Reports

Under-21s produce sensational fightback to stun QPR

Albion trail 3-0 with 20 minutes to before two goals from Andrew Moran, Ben Wilson's penalty and Benicio Baker-Boaitey's strike earns them a 4-3 win.

By Bruce Talbot • 14 November 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Andrew Moran is buried under his team-mates after completing the fightback with his second goal.

Albion produced an amazing comeback from 3-0 down with 20 minutes to go to beat QPR 4-3 and secure their first group-stage in in the Premier League Cup.

The under-21s went into the game having lost just one of their previous seven games and that was against League One Charlton Athletic in the Papa Johns Trophy but they found themselves 3-0 down at the break against a side currently second from bottom in Professional League South, the tier below Premier League 2.

But Andrew Moran scored with a fine strike on 73 minutes to start the comeback before Ben Wilson made it 3-2 from the penalty spot four minutes later.

Albion kept pressing and in the final minute of normal time substitute Benicio Baker-Boaitey levelled with a brilliant finish into the top corner. Albion weren’t finished and Moran scored his fifth goal in seven games to win it with the final kick of the game.

Coach Shannon Ruth said, "You can't fault the character of the group and there is a real belief. There is a positivity around the club which seeps down from the first team to us. We didn't think we played poorly n the first half to be 3-0 down and once we got a goal back we felt we could go from strength to strength. At any level to go from 3-0 down to win 4-3 is a tremendous achievement." 

By Paul Hazlewood
Benicio Baker-Boaitey makes it 3-3 with a strike into the top corner.

In the middle of a hectic schedule, Ruth made six changes to the side which beat Blackburn Rovers eight days ago in their last Premier League 2 game and they started brightly at the Powerday Stadium, home of Hanwell Town FC, in West London.

But an uncharacteristic mistake by Antef Tsoungui gifted the hosts a ninth minute lead when his pass out was intercepted by Alfie Lloyd who teed up Sean Adarkwa eight yards out and he drilled his shot across Killian Cahill into the bottom corner.

Albion responded impressively and should have equalised midway through the first half when Moran’s shot came back off the crossbar. Cam Peupion then drilled a low cross from the left across the face of goal but Moran, at full stretch, saw his shot come back off the underside of the bar.

Marcus Ifill was a threat too, rounding goalkeeper Murphy Mahoney before Rangers’ defence cleared while an earlier volley was directed straight at Maloney. Cahill pushed away Rafferty Pedder’s shot before the hosts struck twice in five minutes just before half-time.

By Paul Hazlewood
Ben Wilson scores from the spot to make it 3-2.

Adarkwa broke into the box and squared it to Steven Bala who fired his right-foot shot across Cahill and into the bottom corner. Worse was to follow for Albion when Pedder made an unchallenged run into the box before giving Cahill no chance with his clinical finish.

Sam Packham came on at the break and nearly pulled one back in the 53rd minute when he got on the end of Moran’s free-kick at the far post but his shot was deflected wide.

But QPR were always a threat when they counter-attacked through Bala and he cut in from the left but Cahill stood up to push his effort around the post.

It felt that if Albion could get a goal back they might cause further problems and substitute Luca Barrington thought he’d found it after 68 minutes when Ben Wilson let Baker-Boaitey’s cross run behind him but Barrington’s shot was cleared off the line by Arkell Jude-Boyd.

Three minutes later though it was 3-1 with two of Albion’s in-form players making the difference. Albion moved the ball from left to right before Barrington found Moran on the left-hand corner of the box and he whipped a right-foot shot inside the far post.

By Paul Hazlewood
Antef Tsoungui attacks a set-piece.

The momentum was now with Albion and they scored again in the 76th minute when Jack Hinshelwood was crudely brought down in the box by Trent Rendall and Wilson confidently drove the resultant penalty into the bottom corner for 3-2.

Albion thought they’d earned another penalty when Cam Peupion seemed to be tripped by Jude-Boyd but the referee waved play on before Cahill made a crucial save to keep out Bala’s low drive.

The importance of that save became evident in the 90th minute. Albion again worked it patiently on the edge of the box before Baker-Boaitey fired a right-foot effort into the top corner from just inside the penalty area to make it 3-3.

Albion weren’t finished. After Lloyd was sent off for a second bookable offence, Imari Samuels’ shot was brilliantly headed off the line by Isaac Pitblado. But when Rangers failed to clear the resultant corner, Moran drove the loose ball into the back of the net. Comeback complete.

Albion: Cahill, Peupion, Furlong, Tsoungui, Offiah (Packham 45), Chouchane (Baker-Boaitey 66), Ifill (Hinshelwood 62), Moran, Wilson, Everitt (Barrington 45), Samuels. Unused subs: Beadle.

Albion: Cahill, Peupion, Furlong, Tsoungui, Offiah (Packham 45), Chouchane (Baker-Boaitey 66), Ifill, Moran, Wilson, Everitt (Barrington 45), Samuels. Sub not used: Beadle.