Southampton Under-18s 0-1 West Ham United Under-18s
Junior Stanislas struck the only goal of the game to give West Ham United a precious away victory against league leaders Southampton.
The talented midfielder, impressive for the reserves in midweek, had earlier missed a penalty but kept going to score with a fine finish in the 75th minute. The three points mean Tony Carr's side, who have won four of their last five games and drawn the other, are now just a point behind Southampton in Group A of the Premier Academy League. To underline the Saints' youth pedigree, they have been divisional champions for the past four years.
It was a cagey contest at Stapleford with Carr's young charges perhaps showing the effects of a 6am start in order to make it to the south coast for an 11am kick-off. Southampton dominated the first half but the visitors picked up the pace before the interval and were able to turn around with the score goalless.
West Ham United were a different proposition after the break and carved out a couple of opportunities, notably through Stanislas's header and a shot from Anthony Edgar. Then, on the hour, Zavon Hines surged into the box only to be fouled. The referee pointed to the spot and Stanislas stepped up to take it. However, home goalkeeper Andrey Pernecky dived to his right to make a good save.
Undeterred, the visitors kept going and finally broke the deadlock when Tony Brookes surged forward from right-back. He crossed into the area and Pernecky collided with one of his team-mates as he tried to claim possession. The ball dropped free and Stanislas was on hand to drive the ball into the net from a slight angle on the half-volley.
Southampton, as their league position suggests, were not about to give up and kept going in the closing stages. That spell included their best opportunity of the match when an effort crashed against the post but Adam Street was able to keep a clean sheet for the second consecutive away game after the 2-0 win at Arsenal which preceded last weekend's 4-1 home success against Norwich City.
West Ham United: Street, Brookes, N'Gala, Payne, Miller, Harvey, Stanislas, Edgar, Kearns (Lee 85), Hines, Sears
Return to whufc.com later for full reaction from Tony Carr and watch out for exclusives to come with Bondz N'Gala and Junior Stanislas