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Worrall left to rue Split decision

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Albion teenager David Worrall probably didn't sleep a wink last night. But when he looks back on his career in the future he may reflect Albion's goalless draw with Hadjuk Split as the night that made him. Includes Baggies on Tour video report. Albion teenager David Worrall probably didn't sleep a wink last night. But when he looks back on his career in the future he may reflect Albion's goalless draw with Hadjuk Split as the night that made him. Because in six short minutes the talented 17-year-old learned a valuable lesson in the harsh realities of European football. That's all it took for Worrall to get a taste of the action in the white-hot atmosphere of the Poljud Stadium after appearing as a 74th minute substitute, before trudging dejectedly down the tunnel after receiving a straight red card minutes later. Read the full story in today's Express & Star

Albion teenager David Worrall probably didn't sleep a wink last night.

But when he looks back on his career in the future he may reflect on this goalless draw as the night that made him.

Because in six short minutes the talented 17-year-old learned a valuable lesson in the harsh realities of European football.

That's all it took for Worrall to get a taste of the action in the white-hot atmosphere of the Poljud Stadium after appearing as a 74th minute substitute, before trudging dejectedly down the tunnel after receiving a straight red card minutes later.

Albion will have to wait on the referee's report to discover whether or not Worrall will now have to serve a ban.

But, regardless, Worrall should consider himself mightily unlucky to fall victim to the over zealous refereeing of Split official Edo Trivkovic.

Certainly, once Worrall raced in to tackle Hajduk midfielder Mladen Pelaic there was only one thought in the referee's mind.

But there was nothing malicious or dangerous about the challenge, and in a friendly it certainly warranted no more than a quiet word in the ear.

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Instead, the straight red card left Worrall heartbroken and took the gloss off a good night's work from Albion against high-class European oppostion whose league campaign kicks off in a week's time.

The teenager's older team mates and boss Tony Mowbray wasted no time in providing their support, not that it probably served as any consolation to the young pro.

"I think the referee was very quick to get the red card out," said Mowbray. "David is a young boy and there was no intent at all. The referee doesn't know he's a 17-year-old boy.

"Their lad had the ball stuck between his legs and was trying to almost pick it up with his knees and swivel round and David was trying to get it off him.

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"It was a very harsh decision but it's been made.

"Whether the referee includes the incident in his report is in the lap of the Gods.

"He was from Split and didn't appear to speak very good English when I spoke to him.

"But the bottom line is David Worrall isn't really going to threaten our starting line-up for the first few months of the season.

"He's a young boy who is here to gain experience and if something like that was going to happen to one of our players it might as well happen to David rather than one we would be looking to start in the team.

"The players picked him up straight away in the dressing room. David will be disappointed of course, but that's football and hopefully it's a lesson learned for the lad."

This might have been a friendly, but there was nothing half-hearted about the atmosphere generated by the 22,000 crowd.

The vociferous Torcida fans of Hajduk behind one goal created an intimidating wall of noise for the entire 90 minutes, while the occasional flare only added to the colour.

But to Albion's immense credit they did not allow themselves to be overawed and thoroughly deserved a second successive pre-season draw.

Yes, most of the play was towards their goal, as was to be expected given Hajduk's extra fitness and preparation.

But, with wantaway Curtis Davies and Paul McShane excellent at the heart of defence, keeper Dean Kiely only had one serious save to make, diving low to his right to fingertip a daisycutter from Pelaic around the post midway through the first half.

Hadjuk did have the ball in the net in the 52nd minute, only for Nikola Kalinic to be flagged offside when he could have it to strike partner Ante Rukavina who had legally sprung the Baggies' offside trap.

By then half-time substitute Sherjill MacDonald had wasted the Baggies' best opening, shooting tamely wide after being given a clear sight of goal by Nathan Ellington's intelligent pass.

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