Albion Res 2 Blackburn Res 1
By Oliver Bhurrut
JUNICHI Inamoto got 81 minutes under his belt on his comeback from injury as Albion bounced back from three successive defeats to snatch a late win in front of a 539-strong Hawthorns crowd.
Gary Shelton's men held their own against a strong Rovers outfit, which included Jay Bothroyd, Javier De Pedro and Nil-Eric Johansson, but needed Joe Murphy to make a string of fine saves to keep Gary Shelton's men in the game.
Rob Elvins was left kicking himself after missing two golden opportunities in a minute to double the lead after Adam Chambers fired the hosts in front within 30 seconds of the second half starting.
And he watched Ciaran Donnelly level the scores in the 65th minute before he came good with the winner two minutes from time thanks to good work from fellow youth team-mates Jared Hodgkiss and Brian Smikle.
Rob Davies almost immediately handed he initiative to Blackburn as scuffed his clearance at the back post straight to Javier De Pedro, whose blistering drive was well parried by Joe Murphy.
Paul Gallagher should have found the target from the rebound but blazed over from ten yards with the goal gaping.
The Baggies hit back as Junichi Inamoto slotted Rob Elvins through just inside the box but just as the young striker was about to pull the trigger James McEveley nipped in to nick the ball off his toes and clear the danger.
Gary Harkins tested Murphy again in the tenth minute as he latched onto a loose ball and drilled a low shot in which the Ireland international did well to hold onto.
Jay Bothroyd wriggled free in the penalty area in the 16th minute and only a James Holmes deflection prevented him from finding the bottom corner of the net from a tight angle.
Moments later Albion needed a brave block from James O'Connor to stop the former Coventry striker's goal-bound 15-yard drive.
Murphy again pulled the Baggies out of trouble in the 32nd minute as he stretched to his left to spectacularly turn away De Pedro's curling 20-yard free-kick which was heading for the top right-hand corner.
Seconds later O'Connor had to be alert to head a flicked-on back-post corner off the goalline.
Five minutes before the break Elvins broke free down the right and centred the ball for Lloyd Dyer but the pacey winger's 20-yard effort was always rising over the bar.
The Baggies took the lead within 30 seconds of the restart as James Holmes whipped in a cross from the left wing which found its way right across the six-yard box to Adam Chambers who slotted it home.
Holmes almost instantly became hero turned villain as he prodded the ball towards his own goal but Murphy rescued him with a superb reaction save at his near post.
Elvins was then presented with a golden opportunity to double Albion's lead when substitute Ben Paszkowec put him through on the left-hand side of the area.
But the Baggies hit-man panicked and scuffed his shot to let Rovers off the hook.
And an even better chance came his way in the 59th minute as a good move down the right saw Davies sail in a pin-point cross which Elvins somehow headed over when he should have tested David Yelldell.
McEveley was allowed to burst into the box through a ruck of players two minutes later but failed to trouble Murphy as he fired wildly over.
And Jonathon Douglas then passed up an opportunity to score as he smashed the ball over after Ronnie Wallwork, playing at centre-half, had failed to deal with a cross into the box.
The visitors did eventually level in the 65th minute when Gallagher found Jemal Johnson down the right and he raced on before forcing another good save from Murphy.
But unfortunately this time the ball dropped to Ciaran Donnelly eight yards out who blasted the ball home.
O'Connor tried his luck with a 20-yard left-footed effort late on but Yelldell dealt comfortably with.
But substitute Brian Smikle added some real pace when he came on and he exchanged passes with fellow replacement Jared Hodgkiss before racing to the by-line and cutting the ball back for Elvins who volleyed home into the roof of the net from eight yards to steal victory.
ALBION (4-4-2): Murphy; Davies, Wallwork, Holmes, Midworth (Paszkowec 50); Chambers, Inamoto (Smikle 81), Dyer; Elvins, Dobie. Subs not used: Miotto (gk), Hodgkiss, Tomlinson.
BLACKBURN (4-4-2): Yelldell; Peers, Johansson, McEveley, Morgan; Donnelly, Harkins, Douglas, De Pedro (Derbyshire 83); Bothroyd (Johnson 45), Gallagher. Subs not used: Bruce, Drenchn, Fitzgerald.
BOOKINGS: ALBION - Inamoto (foul 65); BLACKBURN - Johansson (dissent 54), Gallagher (foul 88).
GOALS: ALBION - Chambers (46), Elvins (88); BLACKBURN - Donnelly (65).
REFEREE: R Desmond.