Southampton's B team fought to a well-deserved victory at West Brom, moving up to fifth place in Premier League 2.
After a tricky start it was the visitors who finished the first half strongly, profiting from this spell with the opener which came in spectacular fashion.
Luke Pearce continued his fine goalscoring record for the side with a near-post volley via a corner, which caught the Baggies by surprise three minutes from the break.
The second 45 saw a battling Saints performance, with West Brom frustrated for the most part with slim pickings in front of goal.
Saints welcomed back a few familiar faces to line-up, as Dare Olufunwa, keeper Harry Lewis and Kazeem Olaigbe all returned to the side.
West Brom went strong in a bit to impress new boss Steve Bruce in attendance; 22-year-old Republic of Ireland international Dara O’Shea starting in defence to emphasise such intent.
The Baggies certainly started the stronger, two crosses from the left-hand side eventually dealt with by Saints despite Lewis Payne causing Lewis’ heart to skip a beat. His defensive header creeping just over the bar.
Saints got into their stride as the half wore on, defender turned winger Zuriel Otseh-Taiwo looking to feed Pearce who got on the end of the ball but couldn’t cross from a tight angle.
Another break fell Pearce’s way eight minutes later, the forward faced with just the onrushing Ted Cann but his attempted chip proving easy pickings for the keeper.
A long ball over the top from the hosts on 25 minutes looked to set Tom Fellows free. Luckily for Saints Lewis was equally as quick off the mark as his counterpart, dealing with the danger well.
Saints responded with a spell of their own, Olaigbe having his first sight of goal with an effort from the edge of the box which was eventually held by Cann.
The pressure continued after the half-hour mark, Payne’s low cross falling to Olufunwa on the edge of the box whose first-time effort missed the mark.
Trialist B produced the pass of the match so far in the 37th minute, picking out an unmarked Payne at the far post whose volleyed shot found the side netting.
The visitors certainly ended the half the stronger of the two sides, profiting from their improved performance with the opener with three minutes to spare.
Jack Turner’s corner was met by Pearce at the near post, who didn’t hesitate with a superb volley on the turn to give Saints the lead.
Dave Horseman’s side threatened a second in first-half stoppage time; Saints keeping in and around the box following a corner before Olaigbe’s shot was deflected behind for another set-piece.
The second half started in similar fashion, the visitors winning two successive corners within the first three minutes.
West Brom’s inevitable second half comeback was led by Fellows, who stormed into the box from the right wing on 55 minutes before testing the palms of Lewis at his near post.
Despite their pressure they still struggled to handle Payne, who cut inside from his flank and looked for the far corner. Flashing his shot narrowly wide.
Olaigbe, as many would expect, also remained a threat. The Belgian turning and shooting on the edge of the box and comes inches away from finding the corner.
The hosts looked to the bench as an equaliser looked unlikely on 65 minutes, Reyes Cleary and Rico Richards, who have both scored already against Saints this season, entering the fray.
But it was Toby King who would be fed through next, Will Tizzard doing well to block the initial effort before heading a second into the arms of Lewis.
Next it was Olufunwa’s turn to defend; the returning centre-back shepherding the ball into Lewis with the dangerous Cleary in pursuit.
Unfortunately it was a disappointing end to a promising evening for Otseh-Taiwo, who was substituted with an injury inside the final 15 minutes.
With five minutes remaining West Brom attempted to up the pressure again. Cleary firing from range but Lewis equal to it.
A golden chance then fell a Baggies trialist inside the six-yard box, who forced another fine save from Lewis.
But it wasn’t over at full-time, with the fourth official adding on nine minutes at the end of the 90.
The Baggies continued to prove frustrated, with a youthful Saints backline defending for their lives.
Finally the three points were confirmed, as Saints rose to fifth in Premier League 2.
Their next fixture is their final Premier League Cup outing at Bournemouth this Friday.