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EFL Cup: West Brom 1-0 Sheffield United - Report

Karlan Grant emerged from the bench to score with his second touch as a second-string Albion side dumped a strong Sheffield United out of the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle.

Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 with Conor Townsend  of West Bromwich Albion during the Carabao Cup First Round match between West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United at The Hawthorns on August 11, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).
Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-0 with Conor Townsend of West Bromwich Albion during the Carabao Cup First Round match between West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United at The Hawthorns on August 11, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Steve Bruce's men booked a date at League One Derby County in round two later this month as a side featuring 10 changes proved too much for the visiting Blades.

Striker Grant, goalscorer against Watford on Monday, entered on 70 minutes and pounced three minutes later to head home Callum Robinson's cross.

Albion deserved to progress and with it won for the first time in the third attempt this season - the only sour note was Grant's lively cameo ending prematurely with discomfort after landing heavily.

Bruce handed first senior starts to teenage duo Reyes Cleary and Zac Ashworth.

Striker Cleary was an exciting inductee into the Baggies line-up, with plenty of intrigue surrounding the young forward who has been linked with German giants Dortmund and Bayern Munich - among other European big-hitters - over recent months.

Oliver Norwood of Sheffield United, Callum Robinson of West Bromwich Albion and John Egan of Sheffield United during the Carabao Cup First Round match between West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United at The Hawthorns on August 11, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

He put speculation to bed last week by penning a first two-year professional deal last week. Cleary had previously made just one senior cameo, against Brighton in the FA Cup last season.

Joining Cleary in the first XI was left-back Ashworth, son of the club's former technical director Dan, after a stint training with the senior squad.

The young Welshman had previously made three substitute appearances for Albion, including notably an eye-catching 45 minutes at Reading in April. The duo were among eight academy products named in the matchday 20, including just a second appearance for 26-year-old goalkeeper Alex Palmer.

Only Dara O'Shea remained in the Baggies' line-up from Monday's impressive display to draw against Watford. There was a second full debut for returning new recruit Okay Yokuslu.

The Turk played an hour before being withdrawn as Bruce considers his involvement in the Championship at Blackburn on Sunday.

Robinson was back in the line-up after injury and persistent summer exit rumours.

Paul Heckingbottom's visitors, meanwhile, arrived with a strong side having made just five changes from the side that beat Millwall in the Championship on Saturday.

They named a side packed with Premier League experience including John Fleck, John Egan, Oliver Norwood and Rhian Brewster.

Reyes Cleary of West Bromwich Albion during the Carabao Cup First Round match between West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United at The Hawthorns on August 11, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

In what was a predictably low-key Hawthorns evening - with empty blue seats aplenty in round one - it was a decent tempo start.

The visitors were unfortunate not to score inside five minutes as Brewster cracked the post before a poor Taylor Gardner-Hickman clearance gave it to Oliver Arblaster, whose deflected effort was saved by Palmer.

Albion might have scored themselves shortly afterwards but Alex Mowatt - the recent Middlesbrough loan target - skewed wide from Ashworth's clever low cross.

Cleary settled into the contest well. The teen is not particularly tall but not slight and held the ball up well against physical defenders and imposed himself.

He curled a strike at Wes Foderingham from the edge of the box.

Okay Yokuslu of West Bromwich Albion and James McAtee of Sheffield United during the Carabao Cup First Round match between West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United at The Hawthorns on August 11, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

Palmer saved a cross-shot with ease before Albion worked huge chances. Cleary was played in on goal over the Blades' defence by Gardner-Hickman but, from a narrowing angle, was denied by Foderingham.

The tie slowed down but Bruce's men ended the half well. Adam Reach found himself in space in the box after good work by Mowatt, but his left-footed shot was beaten away by the busy keeper.

On the stroke of half-time Gardner-Hickman's low cross dragged agonizingly along the six-yard box.

Robinson had a quiet first half but tested Foderingham with a decent strike from 20 yards with the first effort of the second period.

The Yorkshire visitors went close to an opener just after as the lively Reda Khadra was fed by Brewster and denied by a good Palmer stop - before the German flashed a rebound inches wide.

The Blades continued to look sharp on the counter attack through Brewster and Khadra as Albion enjoyed more of the ball.

Reach was denied from a powerful header midway through the second half from Foderingham's good stop before Grant replaced Cleary.

Karlan Grant of West Bromwich Albion scores a goal to make it 1-0 during the Carabao Cup First Round match between West Bromwich Albion and Sheffield United at The Hawthorns on August 11, 2022 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images).

And the No.18 had barely had a touch in a couple of minutes when he headed his side ahead from eight yards out from an accurate Robinson left-sided cross.

Bruce's men almost put the tie to bed a few minutes later when they somehow cracked the crossbar twice in as many seconds.

First Robinson's 25-yard deflected strike hit the woodwork before Phillips' scorching volley via the rebound unfortunately stayed out.

The Baggies were good value for their lead, but will regret Grant hobbling off late on with Daryl Dike already an absentee up front ahead of Sunday's trip to Ewood Park.

Teams

Albion (4-2-3-1): Palmer; Gardner-Hickman, Bartley (c) (Townsend, 70), O'Shea, Ashworth; Yokuslu (Molumby, 61), Mowatt; Phillips, Robinson (Fellows, 85), Reach; Cleary (Grant, 70, Swift, 84)).

Subs not used: Cann, Ajayi, Ingram, Wallace.

Sheffield United (3-5-2): Foderingham; Gordon, Ahmedhodzic (Clark, 70), Egan (c); Khadra (Sharp, 75), Norwood, Arblaster, Fleck (Osborn, 45, Berge, 75)), Lowe; McAtee, Brewster.

Subs not used: Amissah, Baldock, Doyle, Norrington-Davies, Jebbison.

Attendance: 6,747 (739 Sheffield United fans)

Referee: David Webb

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