West Ham United Under-18s 1-2 Arsenal Under-18s
Tony Carr's side were unlucky losers on Saturday as Arsenal fought back from a half-time deficit to take the honours at Little Heath.
Oliver Lee had earned his side a penalty just before half-time, which Anthony Edgar duly converted. Conor Okus and Balint Bajner then had good chances to extend the lead before the break but were to be denied. The hosts were to pay for their profligacy as Arsenal scored two second-half goals to take all three points.
The morning had begun with a misty start at Little Heath but as West Ham United got into their stride, so the early fog disappeared to make way for glorious sunshine. The home side were in lively form, despite the absence of regulars like captain Josh Payne, on loan at Cheltenham Town, and the suspended Christian Montano. Bajner was back in the starting lineup - a towering presence with Ahmed Abdulla and Edgar in support.
Both teams had their moments but it looked like it would be honours at half-time before Lee found space in the penalty area. As he set himself to shoot for goal, a visiting defender tugged back his shirt and the referee had no choice but to blow for a penalty. Edgar stepped up to score his second goal of the season. Okus and Bajner then had their opportunities but the visitors managed to resist the United attacks before the interval.
As was to be expected, Arsenal raised their game in the second half. They finally ensured parity on the hour with a headed goal from a corner that was not cleared. Ten minutes later, they made the most of an injury to Tony Brookes at right-back. The Gunners surged down that flank before crossing in for the winning goal. Bajner had another chance late on but the home side were unable to avoid a second straight defeat.
West Ham United: Street, Brookes (Brown 70), Fry, McNaughton, Eyjolfsson, Lee, Kearns, Okus (Grasser 75), Abdulla, Bajner, Edgar
Subs not used: Loveday, Barrett