Sunderland U18s 2-3 West Ham United U18s
Elliot Lee made it a third straight hat-trick in league play as the Under-18s recorded a fantastic away win at Sunderland on Saturday morning.
Lee scored all the goals as the young Hammers won by the odd goal in five against a spirited Black Cats team. The 16-year-old struck a treble on the opening day of the FA Premier Academy League season last weekend against Sheffield United, having done the same against Chelsea on the final day of the 2010/11 campaign.
The visitors, who travelled up to the north east on Friday night with a six-and-a-half hour coach journey, were quick off the mark with Lee scoring inside the first minute. A through-ball by Kenzer Lee, replacing Leo Chambers who has been on England duty, set his namesake away and he made no mistake after slipping the last defender.
It was two on the half-hour mark. Danny Potts rose highest to meet a corner and head towards goal. Lee was quickest to the ball and saw his effort bounce down off the crossbar and go over the line, with Potts helping it on its way. It was the striker's goal, though, and he was firmly on course for another treble, having also struck seven goals in pre-season.
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Sunderland came back strong in the second half although the Hammers were the first to show immediately after the interval. Lee might have got his hat-trick with a chance at the far post while Jack Powell also went close. As it was, the home side were next to score, breaking away to get themselves back in the game.
That buoyed the Black Cats and they were level with a terrific free-kick from the edge of the area. At that point it seemed that there would be only one winner with the Hammers put under immense pressure.
However, Lee showed great skill and composure to bag the winning goal as the match entered the closing stages. Picking the ball up on a tight angle, he worked his way into a central position before firing in an unstoppable shot. Sunderland came back once again but it was too little, too late for the hosts and the young Hammers head into next Saturday's derby at Tottenham Hotspur on a high.
West Ham United: Larkins, Young, Shaw, Potts, K Lee, Hurley (Hunt 66), Turgott, Powell, E Lee, Sadlier (Miles 80), Fanimo (Labonne 66)