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No Bridge but Barnes opens the floodgates for Albion
Ashley Barnes scored a nine-minute hat-trick as Albion won their opening friendly 5-0 at Maidstone United today without Wayne Bridge.
Bridge, signed on loan from Manchester City, was deep in discussion with club doctor Helge Riepenhof during the pre-match warm-up at the Gallagher Stadium.
The former England defender continued to take part in the kickabout but Marcos Painter replaced him in Albion's first half line-up on Maidstone's 3G synthetic pitch.
Ben Sampayo hot-footed it from the development squad's rained-off run-out at Dover to take over from Painter at left-back in the second half.
Craig Mackail-Smith put Albion ahead in the 25th minute, bundling the ball over the line from close range after Gary Dicker volleyed against the bar from Kazenga LuaLua's cross.
Will Hoskins, plagued by injuries and loaned out to Sheffield United last season, was put through by Barnes to double the lead (50).
Barnes, top scorer last season, stole the show after that. He side-footed the third from a cross by Spanish signing Bruno (58) and made it four from the penalty spot four minutes later after Toby Agdestein was brought down inside the box.
Barnes, operating as an attacking midfielder, completed his quickfire hat-trick (67) when Hoskins set him up for a clever lob.
Albion First Half: Ankergren (Brezovan 30); Calderon, Vincelot, El-Abd, Painter; Rodgers; Sparrow, Dicker; Noone, Mackail-Smith, LuaLua.
Albion Second Half: Brezovan (Kuszczak 59); Bruno, Greer, Dunk, Sampayo; Bridcutt; Barnes, Harley; Buckley, Hoskins, Agdestein.