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Olsson return welcome for Albion

Sport | Published:

Jonas Olsson's return from injury and another signal of Albion's growing Academy optimism completed the reserves' 2-1 win over Stoke at the Hawthorns.

Olsson stayed on course for a Premier League comeback by safely coming through 45 minutes, before making a scheduled withdrawal after two months out with knee trouble.

Chris Wood – fresh from a run of 10 goals in his last seven Under-18s games – also celebrated an impressive reserves debut by heading home the opener three minutes before half-time.

Josh Knight doubled the lead 10 minutes after the break and the Baggies could have won by a bigger margin, but an injury-time cracker from Andy Griffin denied the hosts a clean sheet.

There were also impressive contributions from first team contenders Juan Carlos Menseguez and Filipe Teixeira, who consistently opened up a typically stubborn Stoke defence.

The Baggies had dominated the opening half and made a succession of openings but had to wait to the 42nd minute to get their reward, when a neat move saw Marek Cech deliver a left-wing cross that Wood coolly headed home from close range at the back post.

Olsson made way at the break for 16-year-old centre-half Jamal Clarke - another sign of the club's determination to end years of barren youth development and begin bringing through home-groomed players.

The Baggies doubled their lead in the 55th minute when Do Hoen Kim broke into the box and his cut-back ran for Teixeira. Stoke goalkeeper Steve Simonsen could only parry his first-time shot and Josh Knight fired home the rebound.

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A brilliant save from Kiely to tip Louis Moult's header onto the post and out looked to have given the keeper a clean sheet but, from the corne,r Griffin rocketed a shot through a crowd of players and past the helpless keeper.

Albion (4-4-1-1): Kiely; Hodgkiss, Martis (Samuels 82), Olsson (Clarke HT), Cech; Menseguez, Dorrans, Kim, Knight (Lake-Gaskin 70); Teixeira; Wood.

Subs not used: Allsop (gk), Samuels, Saied.

Stoke (4-4-1-1): Simonsen; Kelly, Cort, Sonko, Griffin; Urwin (Vauls 65), Olofinjana, Wedderburn, Dickinson; Tonge; Camara.

Subs not used: Parton (gk), Moult, McDonald.

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