West Ham United Under-18s 2-3 Southampton Under-18s
West Ham United Under-18s were disappointed to end up with nothing after coming from behind only to have a point snatched from them in the last minute.
Tony Carr was full of praise for the way in which his team fought back in the second half and said it was " a real kick in the teeth" when Southampton scored their third goal with virtually the last kick of the match. He said: "They scored first and we got ourselves level and played really well after the break. Even when Southampton hit back at 2-2, the point was there to take, but it was literally the last seconds of the game when they snatched the winner.
"I can't complain about our performance, just that perhaps we lacked a bit of experience out there and that is why we lost out. But there is a lot to take from the way we played." It was Southampton who had most of the play in the first half, and the visitors to Little Heath on Saturday took the lead after 25 minutes. On the stroke of half-time, West Ham United were level. Bondz N'Gala getting on the action by letting fly with a sweet volley.
After half-time, the home side were more dominant and were rewarded for their pressure on the Saints goal, as they went ahead through Robbie Blackwell. The young defender made no mistake as he arrived at the back post to head in. Minutes later, West Ham United were unlucky not to go further in front, but Junior Stanislas - this week put on standby for England U18's - was thwarted by the Southampton defence. The visitors hit back and drew level at 2-2 and, just as it looked like the spoils being shared between the two teams, Southampton struck the winner just before the final whistle.
Carr was pleased with how 15-year-old Peter Loveday performed in goal for West Ham and was also impressed with Weymouth triallist Calum Crawley, who came on as a second-half substitute for Oliver Lee. Defender Tony Brooks also showed he is getting back on track by making his first appearance following the achilles injury picked up on a pre-season tour of the Netherlands.
All in all, a disappointment in the result, but not in the effort displayed. "Southampton were a little bit bigger and stronger than us and I think that told in the end," said Carr. "We showed a lot of character, we didn't give up when they went in front and battled really well and on another day, some of the chances we had would have gone in. A little bit more experience might have helped us see the game out, but it wasn't to be in this match and we now look forward to our next match." The U18s are in action on Saturday against visitors Crystal Palace.
West Ham United: Loveday, O'Neill (Brooks 55), Blackwell (Miller 50), Payne, N'Gala, Harvey, Kearns, Lee (Crawley 60), Hunt, Stanislas, Fry