West Ham United Under-18s 2-4 Chelsea Under-18s
Goals from Ahmed Abdulla and debutant Robert Hall were not enough to stop an inexperienced West Ham United losing out in an entertaining derby at Little Heath on Saturday.
The home team started and finished the scoring but in between Chelsea dominated and were full value for their victory. Despite the scoreline, academy director Tony Carr was pleased with the way his team regrouped after the interval, having gone in at half-time 3-1 down. Indeed, had his team taken one of a succession of good chances late in the contest they could have gone on to earn something from the game.
Abdulla capitalised on a poor clearance to open the scoring from 25 yards on six minutes. However, within five minutes, Chelsea had equalised after a mis-placed pass by Georg Grasser was intercepted and Frank Nouble was able to score. The visitors then took the lead on 20 minutes when Adam Street came to clear a long ball forward but was beaten to it by the alert Fabio Borini.
It was three just after the half-hour mark through Jacob Mellis. Anthony Edgar could have pulled a goal back soon after but was denied by the woodwork. Despite regrouping well in the second half, Chelsea moved further ahead through Callum McNaughton's own goal but United were able to get a second consolation. In the 68th minute, half-time replacement Conor Okus surged forward allowing fellow substitute Hall - who made his England Under-16 bow last month - to mark his first game at this level with a fine goal.
Lively forward Hall, still only 14, is tipped for a bright future and Carr described his goal as a "terrific achievement". His older team-mates Abdulla, Nick Barrett and Ollie Lee all went close after that and had any converted then it could have been an interesting finish but as it was Chelsea got the win their play deserved with the academy director calling them "worthy winners".
He added: "We had our chances but on the day they were better than us - especially in the first half. We we did a lot better in the second half and if we could have just dragged it back to 4-3 then it would have made it a really interesting last ten minutes but to be fair to them they were a very good team. They were very strong."
West Ham United: Street, Miller, Brown, McNaughton, Fry, Kearns (Hall 56), Montano (Barrett 69), Lee, Grasser (Okus 46), Edgar, Abdulla
Subs not used: Loveday, Driver