We were twice pegged back by Albion after taking the lead through Jack Roles and Kazaiah Sterling at the Training Centre but, after late goals from Marcus Edwards and Shilow Tracey saw us take a 4-2 lead, Chay Scrivens reduced our advantage and the Baggies went close through their opening goalscorer Dara O’Shea before McDermott made himself big to deny substitute Marcus Forss a 90th-minute equaliser.
It all amounted to a dramatic end to our first game in the second phase of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League but, based on our performance in the opening period, we were worthy winners.
Samuel Shashoua’s cross just went over the head of Sterling while Dylan Duncan saw a low shot saved by Baggies goalkeeper Matthew Hall as we made a high-energy start to the game.
We were playing some clever football in the middle and, as a result, the visitors struggled to get out of their own half with Shashoua next to go close for us when his low shot after a quick burst forward in the 23rd minute was diverted behind by O’Shea at the expense of a corner.
Above: George Marsh goes up for a header.
Sterling and Roles had separate appeals for a penalty waved away by the referee while Shashoua and Edwards squandered a free-kick apiece before we took the lead on 39 minutes with a well-worked goal. Nick Tsaroulla, performing admirably at right-back, got down his flank and fed Shashoua in the box, he and Edwards produced some tidy footwork to exchange passes before Shashoua teed up Roles to fire low into the corner from 12 yards out.
We went in at the break on level pegging, though, after O’Shea picked up the ball in the middle and let fly from 28 yards – his effort sailing into the top corner in the second minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Albion came out quickest after the break with James Smith hitting McDermott’s left-hand post from a tight angle within 30 seconds of the restart but we shook that off and regained the lead on 50 minutes when Edwards’ corner looped towards the back post, where Sterling was on hand with a downward header to nudge the ball over the line.
Goalkeeper Hall then made a smart stop low down to his right from Edwards’ free kick, but back came the Baggies as Rahis Nabi’s free-kick spun loose off the defensive wall with Forss gathering possession before shooting low past McDermott from the left angle just before the hour mark.
Edwards and Shashoua pulled off a nice exchange of passes down the right but the latter’s eventual shot was blocked, with the same player fizzing the ball just wide of the near post from 20 yards a moment later.
Nya Kirby, one of two Under-16s regulars on as a substitute for us in the second half, fired just over the top from distance before we took the lead for the third time with 10 minutes to go. Tsaroulla won a 50-50 challenge with Nabi at the corner of West Brom’s box with Edwards getting onto the ball and drilling into the bottom corner with his left foot from 18 yards out.
Smith forced a save from McDermott at his near post as the Baggies sought a third equaliser while Edwards clipped the ball onto the crossbar at the other end after working his way through a crowded Albion box on 85 minutes.
It was all action by that stage and we grabbed a fourth goal 60 seconds later when Christian Maghoma headed Hall’s goal-kick straight back into West Brom territory and substitute Tracey wriggled away from his marker before firing in from 10 yards.
It wasn’t over, though, as we failed to clear the ball properly in our box and Scrivens drove in for 4-3 on 87 minutes, with O’Shea then steering over the top from six yards out after a corner was headed back across goal.
A frantic period came to an end with a decisive stop from McDermott in the 90th minute, the keeper advancing off his line to thwart Forss after he squeezed his way between Joy Mukena and Tsaroulla and, after seeing out a brief additional period, we came away with the win.
Spurs U18s: McDermott, Tsaroulla, Brown, Marsh (Oakley-Boothe 63), Mukena, Maghoma, Edwards, Roles, Sterling (Tracey 77), Duncan (Kirby 63), Shashoua. Substitutes (not used): Oteh, Austin (GK).