West Ham United Under-18s 2-0 Fulham Under-18s
West Ham United completed their complement of FA Premier Academy League Group A home fixtures with a 2-0 win over Fulham at Little Heath.
A first-half penalty from Anthony Edgar and a header after the interval from Cristian Montano were enough to see Tony Carr's side beat their west London rivals on a cold and blustery Tuesday afternoon.
The Hammers were the better side for the vast majority of the game and could have won by a wider margin had it not been for Fulham goalkeeper Wesley Foderingham.
West Ham held the upper hand for much of the opening half against a Fulham side managed by former Cottagers midfielder Gary Brazil, but could easily have fallen behind on two occasions before Edgar's opener.
First, on eleven minutes, right-back Karim Laribi cut inside Conor Okus before playing a one-two with Danny Hoesen and finding himself completely unmarked 12 yards from goal, only to stab his shot well over the crossbar.
Eight minutes later, Hoesen ghosted past Matt Fry and Callum McNaughton, only to launch his shot well over the target when it appeared easier to score. Less than a minute later, Montano raced on to a through-ball, only to be denied by the shoulder of Foderingham, who had raced out of his penalty area/
The game was held up for five minutes midway through the opening period when visiting midfielder Paudie Quinn had to be carried off on a stretcher with what appeared to be a leg injury.
When play did resume, West Ham again took the upper hand and should have taken the lead on 37 minutes. Fry challenged Foderingham for a lofted Callum Driver free-kick, but when the loose ball dropped to the Hammers captain six yards from goal, his left-foot shot from six yards cannoned back off the underside of the crossbar rather than nestling into the completely unguarded net.
Thankfully for Fry, he only had two minutes to worry about his miss as Edgar confidently stroked West Ham ahead from the penalty spot. The lively midfielder had earned the spot-kick himself, being felled by a clumsy Sulaiman Bangura challenge after racing on to Driver's pass.
Into the second half and West Ham could have doubled their lead on 48 minutes. Nick Barrett and Montano combined to release Okus, who forced Foderingham into a low save. The ball rebounded to Montano, but the striker could only send his shot into the ground and on to the face of the crossbar.
Carr sent on defender Jack Lampe for McNaughton on 56 minutes before Barrett was booked for a late challenge.
Left-back Driver was the next Hammer to be denied by Foderingham on the hour-mark before Balint Bajner forced the goalkeeper into another superb stop following superb build-up play from Montano and Edgar. From the resulting 63rd-minute corner, taken by Oliver Lee, Montano nodded in at the far post after Lampe had headed the ball back across the face of goal.
Georg Grasser and Ahmed Abdulla were sent on for Edgar and Sergio Sanchez respectively as Fulham briefly threatened a rally through Hoesen, who twice dragged shots wide from promising positions.
It was West Ham who finished the stronger, however, creating three further chances in the final five minutes. First, Grasser raced the length of the field, starting and finishing a move that also involved Okus and Abdulla before shooting wide of the far post with his left foot.
Next, with a minute of the 90 remaining, Lampe caught Lee's left-wing corner flush on the volley, forcing Foderingham to tip the ball over. From the resulting corner, Bajner flicked the ball on at the near post, only for Fulham substitute Charles Banya to clear the ball off the line.
Carr's youngsters complete their season by heading to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday morning. Spurs are top of Group B and need to win to hold off the challenge of Leicester City and Aston Villa.
West Ham themselves have a chance of finishing second in Group A behind runaway leaders Arsenal, who have already been crowned champions.
West Ham United: Street, Sanchez (Abdulla 78), Driver, McNaughton (Lampe 56), Fry, Barrett, Lee, Edgar (Grasser 73), Okus, Bajner, Montano
Subs not used: Loveday, Craig