Our men’s under-21s were left frustrated as they conceded a last-minute equaliser to Derby County in the Premier League Cup on Friday.
Billie Clark came off the bench to convert from Cam Peupion’s pull-back in the 84th minute, but Cian Kelly scrambled the ball home with the last kick of the game to ensure his team took a point from the contest.
While Albion could reflect on a terrific 4-3 win against QPR in the competition at the beginning of the week, Ruth will have no doubt wanted to avoid the drama of having to come back from 3-0 down at half-time again.
And his side averted exactly that, with chances at a premium for both teams in the opening 45 minutes at Loughborough University.
Bart Cybulski was denied by James Beadle after 15 minutes when he drove an effort straight at the Albion keeper before George Nunn’s shot flew over when he was afforded space on the edge of the box.
Odel Offiah went within inches of putting the visitors in front as he nodded Luca Barrington’s corner against the crossbar, before Lennon Wheeldon’s cross was an inch or two from looping over Beadle, but the keeper read the flight of the ball well to tip it over.
Ruth injected some energy into his team at the beginning of the second half with a triple substitution and two of them looked to have an immediate impact. Peupion’s low cross wasn’t dealt with by the Derby defence with Todd Miller able to get away a snapshot effort, but it was straight at Alfie Roberts and the hosts were able to clear the loose ball.
Miller picked up another good position in the box as he dragged an effort wide from a tight angle after being picked out by Offiah, before Peupion’s header from another Barrington corner was cleared off the line by a Derby player.
Albion finally broke the deadlock with six minutes to play as Peupion got down the flank and his low ball was poked home by Clark from close.
But that wasn’t the end of the late drama as the Rams grabbed an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time, as Kelly squeezed the ball over the line from a yard to make it 1-1.
The result sees Albion maintain their place in second in group Group B, with group leaders Bournemouth next up.
Albion: Beadle, Offiah (Clark 66), Furlong, Jackson (Packham 46), Tsoungui, Hinshelwood, Nilsson, Everitt (Peupion 46), Wilson (Miller 46), Barrington, Baker-Boaitey.
Unused subs: Cahill