Ipswich Town U18s 1 - 1 West Ham United U18s
West Ham United Under-18s got their pre-season schedule off to a good start as they travelled up the A12 and gained a deserved draw with Ipswich Town. Due to players having commitments at a number of other first-team and Development Squad games this weekend, Tony Carr and Nick Haycock had a younger than usual squad to choose from.
Before the game, Academy Director Carr had said that he believed this would be good experience and a good test for the young Hammers side and that is what it proved to be. A strong defensive performance in the first half was turned into a more attacking display after West Ham had made ten changes at half-time.
The first half saw very few chances made, with the best falling to the home side. Schoolboy Jamie Harney and Australian trialist David Stokoe helped the Hammers to see out the first 45 minutes without conceding, with the help of a couple of excellent near-post saves from goalkeeper Sam Baxter. The best of the West Ham chances were created down on the left wing between new signing Nathan Mavila and Moses Makasi, who linked well together throughout the first half.
West Ham's ten changes at half-time led to more in terms of attacking threat with schoolboy Kyle Knoyle and first-year scholar Taylor Tombides - brother of striker Dylan - linking up well on the right and creating chances on a number of occasions.
However, the home side would strike first. After a Baxter clearance was blocked by Jack Marriott, all he needed to do was slot the ball into the bottom corner, which he did with ease.
Not long afterwards, Tombides made a great run down the right wing and then managed to get a low cross into the box, only for Nana Boakye-Yiadom to see his shot was blocked. More good work from Tombides then saw a ball cut back to Kieran Bywater (pictured) on the edge of the box, but the resulting shot went a few inches wide.
As the game was drawing to a close the continued West Ham pressure finally paid off after an underweight backpass allowed Boakye-Yiadom to cut in and round the goalkeeper before side-footing into an empty net.
With just seconds on the clock the best move of the game once again saw Tombides and Knoyle combining brilliantly, Niley's overlap saw him collect a clever through ball from Tombides and fire his shot against the post as the game ended all-square.
Afterwards, Carr was happy with his team's display in their opening pre-season game.
"We would have been pleased with the performance even without the equaliser, but it is always nice to come away with a result," he said. "This was our first game of pre-season after three weeks of training and it was good to give everyone playing time. Now we need to look ahead to more games to get match fit for the start of the new season.
"There were a number of younger players in the squad and they were the ones that really stood out for me. In the second half Grady in the centre of midfield and Kyle Niley at right-back both impressed."
West Ham United first-half XI: Baxter, Makasi, Stokoe, Harney, Alexander, Kofi, Carter, Cullen, Mavila, Gogo, E.Lee
West Ham United second-half XI: Baxter, Burke, Girdlestone, Manny, Knoyle, Marlow, Bywater, Grady, Luretta, T.Tombides, Yiadom)
*This report was written by eleven-year-old schoolboy Willis Jamieson, who has ambitions of becoming a sports journalist when he is a bit older. You can follow Willis on twitter @WillisJamieson