Norwich City Under-18s 0-1 West Ham United Under-18s
Junior Stanislas struck the all-important goal that saw West Ham United Under-18s deservedly take all three points at Norwich City today.
Stanislas, made captain of the team for the day by youth academy director Tony Carr, was rewarded for his outstanding all-round performance by hitting the net five minutes into the second half with a superb team goal. Good work thanks to the combination of Ben Hunt and Anthony Edgar saw the ball fall to Matt Fry. He then sent a low cross into the box and Stanislas, who had run in from the right hand side, struck a sweet left-foot shot to score.
Dominating the game throughout, the visitors could have extended their advantage and they also defended strongly when Norwich tried to hit back. For Carr, it was the perfect response to last week's 6-1 home defeat at the hands of a top-quality Arsenal side. "We gave a better performance, played like we know we can play, got the win and just as importantly, kept a clean sheet.
"We had other chances but the one on this occasion was enough to see us through. We dominated the game but what was also pleasing was the way we managed to restrict Norwich to half-chances, because we defended well. This is not an easy place to come to or an easy team to play, so we are very happy with our work today."
West Ham United made a bright start and the lively Stanislas almost got his team into an early lead. He dispossessed his marker and sent a good shot through to goal, but the ball appeared to bobble on the pitch and the effort was saved. Stanislas continued to be a threat as Carr's side kept up the pressure but they were just missing the final touch to get the ball into the back of the net.
Norwich got forward as the first half drew to a close, but Marek Stech in goal, was rarely troubled. After the break, the away side continued where they had left off and, five minutes after the whistle had blown, they went ahead with Stanislas's goal.
Carr made a few changes, bringing on Tom Harvey for Oliver Lee in the 60th minute and later Jordan Spence for Anthony Ashman and, in the 80th minute as a replacement for Fry, welcomed back Tony Brooks for his first appearance of the season after his recovery from a long-term knee injury.
West Ham United were a man down for the final ten minutes as Edgar was taken off after tweaking his knee and Carr had used up all his substitutes. But the young team continued their strong play and despite some late half-chances for Norwich, ran out deserved winners. Carr said: "On another day we could have scored more, but I got the response I was looking for from the lads and I felt we fully deserved to take all three points."
West Ham United: Stech, O'Neill, Blackwell, N'Gala, Ashman (Spence 78), Kearns, Stanislas, Lee (Harvey 60), Hunt, Edgar, Fry (Brooks 80).
For more details on the youth team's fixtures and results, click here. All the highlights will follow later this weekend on the WHUTV video service.