Newcastle Res 1 Albion Res 0
ROB Hulse made an encouraging return from injury - but his lively
performance wasn't enough to save Gary Shelton's side from their first
defeat of the season.
Darren Ambrose's solitary 24th-minute strike edged this Kingston Park clash
in Newcastle's favour and ended the Albion second-string's four-game
But Hulse's comeback from a long-standing stomach problem which has kept him sidelined since the final game of last term was at least so me consolation
for Shelton on the long journey south.
Last season's 13-goal top scorer was given a 55-minute run out and Shelton
insisted the signs were positive.
"Rob looked very sharp in the first half and held the ball up well," he said.
"He stiffened up at half-time and we only gave him an extra ten minutes
because we didn't want to push him too hard.
"But he appears to have come through unscathed and it's now a case of him
building up his fitness.
"The signs were good. It was an encouraging comeback and he'll probably play
in the reserves again against Middlesbrough on Wednesday week."
Shelton was less pleased with the goal Albion conceded - only their second
in five games - which sentenced them to a somewhat undeserved defeat.
Artim Sakiri passed up two good chances to claw the Baggies level before the
break and they were unable to convert their lengthy spells of second-half
possession and pressure into an equaliser.
"The game had been even-stevens until Newcastle scored - and it was the same afterwards," added Shelton.
"It was a bad goal to give away. We got caught down our left-hand side,
failed to cut out the cross and Ambrose dinked it over Tomasz Kuszczak at
the far post.
"We had the wind behind us in the second half and put them under a lot of
pressure without really creating a lot.
"We huffed and puffed but the game fizzled out."