Robert Hall scored one goal and made another as West Ham United secured a 2-1 FA Premier Academy League victory over Charlton Athletic.

The England Under-18 forward won and converted a first-half penalty before turning provider when Paul McCallum headed home his free-kick with just seven minutes remaining.

Academy Director Tony Carr was happy to take all three points from an evenly-contested and tight encounter at Little Heath.

"It was not a particularly good game in terms of the quality of football - in fact, it was pretty poor from both teams," admitted Carr. "Charlton play in a very functional way and their style is all about team shape and denying us time and space and trying to catch us on the counterattack.

"We opened the scoring on 13 minutes when Robert was tripped inside the penalty area and he stepped up and took the penalty himself. We then allowed Charlton to score a really soft equaliser. We gave the ball away in midfield and they broke and scored, which meant it was 1-1 at half-time.

"I thought we tried harder than them to score in the second half and committed more men forward, and we deservedly got the winner with seven minutes to go. We got a free-kick in a wide area and Robert bent over a superb ball that Paul headed home."

McCallum, a January capture from Dulwich Hamlet, had started the game at centre-back due to injuries, and produced a strong display before being sent forward by Carr with 25 minutes remaining.

"We're not going to pigeon-hole Paul as he is only young and still developing. We had a couple of defenders missing, so we put him in there and he did a good job. We then sent him up front in the second half and he has given us the momentum to score the winner, so fair play to him.

"It was one of those games that would have been really tough to have lost, because it was very tight. Both teams had a few chances, but we came through in the end."

Although the Group A title is probably beyond the fifth-placed Hammers, who trail leaders Southampton by six points, Carr is eager that his youngsters do not take their collective foot off the pedal in their final few league matches.

"We have got five games left plus a couple of friendly matches and all I want is for them to keep playing well and winning games."

The U18s return to action on Wednesday afternoon, when they travel to third-placed Norwich City.

West Ham United U18s: Cowler, Young, Potts, McCallum, Sanchez (Chambers), Hall, Powell, Hunt, Hurley (Craig), E.Lee, Vose (Purdy)

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