Boaz Myhill blunder sees Albion lose

A freak goal by San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham sent Albion towards defeat in the opening game of their pre-season tour.

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San Jose Earthquakes 2 Albion 1

A freak goal by San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham sent Albion towards defeat in the opening game of their pre-season tour.

Bingham's clearance from his own area in the third minute bounced over red-faced Baggies keeper Boaz Myhill and into the Albion net to give the Major League Soccer side a dream start.

And the hosts doubled their lead when Khari Stephenson spectacularly punished a mistake by Craig Dawson on the stroke of half-time, before Jerome Thomas pulled a goal back for Albion in some style after the interval.

Click on the image on the right to see more pictures and Albion fans at the game.

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Summer signings Billy Jones and Gareth McAuley made their Albion debuts from the substitutes' bench, while Jonas Olsson and Youssouf Mulumbu remained at the Baggies' Ojai training base in readiness for the final two games of the trip.

Albion began brightly with Brunt involved in two good moves, first sending a free-kick just wide and then threading a clever through-ball into the path of Paul Scharner with Bingham racing out to gather.

But from there the Quakes goalkeeper secured his moment of glory, dribbling to the edge of his area before launching the ball downfield.

Myhill appeared to lose sight of it in the low sun and his team-mates could only watch it bounce over his head and then over the line.

Albion almost unlocked the home defence in the 11th minute when a raking ball from Marek Cech found Brunt cutting in from the left, but his second touch let him down and Bingham gathered.

The game was far from full-throttle but the Baggies forced a save from Bingham when Peter Odemwingie made a jinking run and fed Jerome Thomas, whose fierce shot took a deflection towards the top corner with the goalkeeper flying high to his right to concede a corner.

But it was a even opening and the hosts went close again on 23 minutes, when a corner from the right was cleared as far as defender Tim Ward, whose 20-yard shot flashed fractionally over Myhill's crossbar.

Albion opened up the Quakes from a quick free-kick by Brunt ,with Thomas beating two defenders but squaring the ball just behind Odemwingie in the penalty area.

A pleasing move by Albion saw Thomas exchange passes neatly with Marek Cech on the edge of the box before sending a low shot just wide, although the linesman belated raised his flag for offside.

Ten minutes before half-time there was an opening for the hosts when Rafael Baca burst powerfully down the left, but his teasing cross was just too high for the onrushing Ellis McLoughlin at the far post.

Brunt then sent a long-range effort just wide before another smart Baggies move ended with Roman Bednar flagged offside.

A fabulous ball by Brunt on 43 minutes sent Thomas racing through and he appeared to the bundled over 25 yards from goal by Bobby Burling but, to the disgust of the Albion man, the officials waved away his appeals for a foul.

But Albion fell further behind on the stroke of half-time when Dawson dallied on the ball and was robbed by Stephenson, whose powerful long-range effort crept into the bottom corner past Myhill's left hand.

The Baggies almost got a goal back in the opening moments of the second half when James Morrison worked some space for himself 25 yards out but saw his thunderous shot kept out brilliantly by substitute keeper Andrew Weber.

But it was 2-1 moments later when Thomas danced past three players before bending a delightful shot past Weber for a fine solo goal.

Steven Reid made a fabulous sliding challenge 55 minutes to deny Scott Sealy a close-range tap-in after a smart run and cross by Omar Jasseh.

And a clever through-ball from George Thorne then fed fellow substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune, whose far-post cross flew inches away from Odemwingie.

A raft of substitutions in the second half disrupted the flow but Reid went close for the Baggies with a header that flew just wide from a well-delivered free-kick by Marek Cech.

But Pablo Ibanez only just got back in time to deny Chris Wondolowski when the ball dropped in his direction in the Albion box with 12 minutes remaining.

In the dying moments Myhill had to make an acrobatic save to keep out a curling free-kick from Tim Ward.

And in stoppage time Fortune sent a fierce cross-shot just wide.

San Jose (4-4-2): Bingham (Weber, HT); Ward, Burling (Leitch, HT), Hernandez (Ring, HT), Morrow; Baca (Corrales, 60), Cronin (Ampaipitakwong, HT), Stephenson (Dawkins, HT), McLoughlin (Jasseh, HT); Gjertsen (Luzunaris, HT), Sealy (Wondolowski, 61). Subs not used: Johnson, Lenhart.

Albion (4-4-2): Myhill; Reid (Mantom, 82), Dawson (McAuley, HT), Ibanez, Cech; Brunt (Shorey, 65), Morrison (Wood, 82), Scharner (Thorne, HT), Thomas (Jones, 65); Odemwingie (Miller, 71), Bednar (Fortune, HT).

Referee: Alejandro Mariscao

Attendance: 6,872

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