Arsenal Under-18s 0-2 West Ham United Under-18s
Goals from Daniel Kearns and Freddie Sears helped West Ham United to record an impressive away victory against a strong Arsenal side on Saturday morning.
Tony Carr's Academy team were out to avenge a 6-1 home defeat in the previous meeting of the two clubs earlier this campaign, and showed their progress with a solid display from start to finish. Arsenal had Luke Freeman, their new £200,000 signing from Gillingham, in attack - but the visiting defence held firm at London Colney.
After a slow start from both sides in the first 20 minutes, West Ham United broke the deadlock through Kearns. The young Northern Irishman cut inside from the left flank before scoring with a fierce low shot that was deflected past the home goalkeeper. Buoyed by the goal, the Hammers kept going and Kearns found himself well-placed with another opportunity - only for the keeper to save with his legs.
Ollie Lee then had a good shot deflected wide for a corner as Carr's side finished the half strongly. The second half was barely a minute old when West Ham United carved their way through the middle. Jack Jeffery burst into the box only to be brought down. With the visitors appealing for a penalty, the quick-thinking Sears pounced to tuck the ball into the net as the referee played the advantage.
At that point, those involved would have been forgiven for thinking of the previous week's 3-3 home draw against Charlton Athletic when West Ham United let a two-goal lead slip. There was to be no repeat this time around as the resolute Hammers rearguard kept the home side at bay, limiting them to long-range efforts that never really troubled Adam Street, fully fit again after his collarbone injury.
Carr said: "It was a great result. It certainly avenges the disappointment somewhat of the way we lost the game earlier in the season. I was really pleased with our performance and thought we thoroughly deserved it. I was particularly pleased with how we approached the game and the way we played. We finished the game worthy winners."
"Two-nil up can be a dangerous scoreline because a goal the other way can turn the game in a minute. We were determined not to let that happen this week and so it proved. Bondz N'Gala and Josh Payne kept Freeman very quiet. He had a decent game but we limited his attempts on goal to shots from distance." N'Gala was playing his first game back at the club since finishing a temporary spell with Weymouth after a change of management at the non-league club.
West Ham United: Street, Spence, Widdowson, N'Gala, Payne, Lee (Harvey 78), Stanislas (O'Neill 85), Edgar, Jeffery, Sears, Kearns (Hunt 78)