WEST HAM UNITED v LIVERPOOL
BARCLAYS U21 PREMIER LEAGUE ELITE GROUP STAGE
FRIDAY 26 APRIL 2013
REFEREE: MICHAEL GEORGE
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Final score - West Ham United U21s 2-1 Liverpool U21s
95 mins - We've almost played the allotted five, as Morgan engineers a shooting opportunity at the near post, but his drive flashes just high of the angle of post and bar. There goes the final whistle and it's relief for the Hammers, who wrap up their fourth win of the Elite Group. It got nervy towards the end but I think the Hammers were well worthy of the three points this evening. Next up for the Hammers, is a trip to Southampton, next Thursday, with their hopes of a top three finish still alive and kicking.
94 mins - Anywhere will do now for the Hammers, as Pelly Ruddock hacks clear. It inevitably comes straight back and there are hearts in mouths as a low drive careers into the side netting.
92 mins - A second swap here for the hosts, as Maguire makes way for Nathan Mavila. The Irishman receives a warm hand as he departs, from a crowd who have clearly enjoyed his efforts this evening.
90 mins - I'm afraid to say we've got five extra minutes here and I dare say it's going to feel like a whole lot longer for those in claret and blue out there. There's not a soul in the Liverpool half now, as the visitors push for a late leveller.
88 mins - Meanwhile, Nick Haycock makes his first switch of the night, with Frazer Shaw replacing Elliot Lee. The can't stem the tide, however, as Petersson surges to the by-line, but Pelly Ruddock sticks out a leg to intercept.
85 mins - From absolutely nowhere, we now have a grandstand finish on our hands. Unsurprisingly, it's Liverpool doing all the pressing and Morgan is adamant that Liverpool should have a second penalty. His protestations are vociferous but all he gets for his troubles is a booking.
82 mins - Goal. Adorjan steps up himself and sends Baxter the wrong way, slotting into the corner, to the left of Baxter. Curiously, one young Liverpool fan decides to run onto the field of play, sprinting the length of the field, before being challenged by stewards. Not his wisest decision, it's fair to say.
80 mins - Difficult to envisage a Liverpool revival here, but West Ham are taking absolutely nothing for granted as they continue to scrap for everything. Commentator's curse. Adorjan goes to ground under a challenge from Spence and referee Michael George obliges, pointing to the spot.
78 mins - Substitue Jack Dunn crosses from the right and Baxter opts to punch clear. It's a good decision, seeing as he makes good contact and the Hammers clear their lines.
75 mins - Just quarter of an hour left to play here and though Liverpool continue to press, it's all in front of West Ham's two banks of four. Another Liverpool attack broken up and Moncur comes away with it and is really unlucky to see his through ball hit the heels of Maguire. West Ham's No8 picks it up once more but can't pick out Elliot Lee on the far side.
72 mins - Driver and Bywater play it neatly between them, with Bywater whipping in a cross to the far post. Lee looks favourite at first glance but is just edged out of it in the end.
70 mins - There's just shy of 500 in this evening and yet they're making a right royal racket beneath me in the Alpari Stand Lower.
68 mins - What a passage of play that was. Spence brings it clear and pings a 40-yard ball in the direction of Maguire. His majestic ball bisects the two defenders and Maguire is able to chest it down. Unfortunately, it just gets away from him and Gulacsi collects.
67 mins - There's a brief stoppage here as Driver yelps in pain thanks to Adorjan's robust-looking challenge.With the help of physio Tom Smith, Driver is soon back to his feet and Morgan returns the ball to Sam Baxter.
65 mins - The visitors look certain to score, but for a brilliant intervention from Dan Potts. Teixeira has a clear sight of goal for a moment, before Pottsy gets his body in the way, to block and gets a well-earned congratulatory pat on the back from Baxter.
63 mins - Liverpool have certainly looked more threatening since the break and here's a case in point. Adorjan hares after a clever ball down the inside left channel, but Spence is on hand to prevent any further damage with a strong block.
60 mins - Moncur and Lee combine again, with the former driving with real intent towards the penalty area. He rolls it into the path of Lee, who, on his left foot, can only blast over.
59 mins - The Hammers are defending pretty deep here, but it works, as Craig Roddan's cross is cut-out at the near post. It leads to a West Ham breakaway led by Maguire himself. Moncur picks up the pieces and slides it to Lee, whose low drive is never really threatening the far corner.
56 mins - Liverpool's bright start prompts the first change of the evening, as Nacho makes way for Jack Dunn. It's West Ham, however, who have the ball and Spence looks long for Maguire. The Irishman, as ever, is a willing runner and sees his cross blocked, earning the Hammers another corner. It reaches Maguire at the far stick, who cuts inside before letting fly, but once again there's a Liverpool body in the way. Make no mistake, Maguire looks lively.
54 mins - It's all Liverpool here. Petersson crosses for Adorjan, but he can't apply a telling touch, as his attempted volley rolls right across goal. Seconds later, Teixeira spots Baxter off his line and goes for glory from 30 yards plus. In fairness, it's a decent effort but still balloons well over the frame of the goal.
51 mins - Testing times these for West Ham. Adam Morgan's shot from the edge of the box is deflected off Jordan Spence and Sam Baxter has to readjust to make a smart stop. He then gets back to his feet in an instant ti block the follow-up as well. Excellent goalkeeping from the young man.
49 mins - Petersson bursts into the box, but takes a touch too many and can't prevent the ball from going behind. Frustration all round for Liverpool.
47 mins - As it turns out that's a precursor to a Liverpool flurry, as Teixeira's drive is deflected behind for a corner. The set-piece cannons around the Hammers box, before a strike on goal is skewed well wide. The Reds have it all to do but they're clearly not going to go down without a scrap.
46 mins - Here we go again and West Ham are straight back into their stride. Bywater sends it in from the right and Maguire does hsi very best to connect, but it's fractionally behind him and so he can only really help it on its way.
45+1 mins - West Ham are straight up the other end and work it out to Bywater on the wing. His cross lands at the feet of Moncur, but is well blocked and Gulacsi is able to fly off his line and smother. At the other end, Liverpool have half-hearted shouts for a penalty, as the ball cannons into a West Ham chest but referee Michael George is having none of it. That's half time and we'll be back with you shortly.
45 mins - We're winding down here to the whistle and as Baxter lumps upfield, the fourth official indicates an additional two minutes. The Reds have one last attack but make a right hash of it, as Flanagan turns down the opportunity to cross, opting instead to pass it backwards to precisely no one.
43 mins - Long way back now for Liverpool, who, in truth, have been underwhelming thus far. They're pretty in possession but that's about it. Dare I say it, West Ham look comfortable.
39 mins - GOAL! I said Lee looked like he was in the mood and so he is. The ball ricochets into his path, he turns to leave Stephen Sama on his backside and needs no invitation to shoot, curling delightfully into the far corner. Fabulous finish and the Hammers are well on their way to three precious points.
37 mins - Jon Flanagan brings it forward down this right-hand side and though Lletget is in close attention, he's still able to fling a ball into the centre. Not for the first time, Adorjan wins it cleanly in the air, but, much to his anguish, can't direct his header on target.
34 mins - Back come West Ham through Moncur who cleverly plays in Lletget. Unfortunately, the American Under-23 international can't quite take it in his stride and it's out for a goal-kick. First-class approach play all the same.
32 mins - Liverpool's No10 Adorjan is alllowed to carry the ball an anwfu long way, but loses control at the vital moment and it squirms behind for a goal-kick. Baxter rolls it out to Ruddock, but his backpass has too much on it and he gifts the visitors a corner. The resulting set-piece is worked out to Teixeira, who drills one goalward and Bxter does well to palm it behind.
29 mins - First class control there from Marlow, who has two Liverpool players in close proximity, but outfoxes them both with a delicious first touch. The goal, no doubt, has done his confidence no harm whatever. Elsewhere, the linesman in front of me is in business, as another black shirt strays into an offside position.
27 mins - With four goals in the Elite Group Stage already, Elliot Lee clearly fances his chances of adding to that tally this evening. He lets fly from 25 yards out but the end result is not the prettiest, as the ball boys behind the goal, rather than the keeper, are called upon once more.
25 mins - If I'm not mistaken, Sam Baxter in the West Ham goal is yet to make a save of any note. That said, Joao Teixeria is twisting and turning in the Hammers penalty area but just as he's about to take aim, he loses his feet and goes to ground.
23 mins - Midway through the first half here and it's so far, so good. Liverpool continue to concede free-kicks and based on what we've seen so far, they do so at their peril. This time Moncur pings one into the mixer and though it's only half cleared to Lletget, his side-footed effort clears the bar by some distance.
21 mins - Another set piece for Nick Haycock's men and it very nearly brings a second goal. Kieran Bywater floats in a free-kick and Pelly Ruddock climbs highest in the box. For a moment it looks to be nestling in the far corner, but drifts just wide of the post.
20 mins - The danger is not yet over, as Nacho swings in a corner from the left. Adorjan gets a run on his marker at the near post but heads wastefully over the bar. This is some spectacle already.
17 mins - End to end stuff here. Firstly, Lee receives the ball on the left-hand side of the box and though his shot is straight at Gulacsi, he juggles it before collecting at the second attempt. Seconds later and Liverpool have a break on. Or so we think, as skipper Callum Driver makes not one but three fine challenges to snuff out the danger. Brave and brilliant from Driver.
15 mins - Back to the action and Elliot Lee plays a neat reverse ball into Sean Maguire. The Irishman, making just his second start, fizzes an inviting centre across goal, but it's narrowly behind those in the box.
14 mins - West Ham scored all three of their goals from set-pieces up in Liverpool and it has taken just 11 minutes here, for that same pourous defence to be breached. Just to remind you, the Hammers have to win this evening to stand any chance whatever of progressing into the semi-finals.
11 mins - GOAL! Out of nothing, West Ham have their noses in front. Moncur's corner from the left is a deep one and Gulacsi gets sucked under the flight of the ball. Ben Marlow is the grateful recipient, as he can barely believe his luck, nodding downward before the ball bounces into the roof of the net. I'd hazard a guess that Marlow hasn't scored too many headers in his short career. Great start for the Hammers.
9 mins - A first noteworthy attack from Liverpool here, as Nacho crosses from the right, with Kristoffer Petersson sniffing around in the box. The latter is caught offside, but that's a warning for the hosts nonetheless.
6 mins - Meanwhile, the Hammers win a free-kick in a central area, some 25 yards from goal. As is often the case, George Moncur takes charge, but his strike is curled straight into the arms of visiting stopper Peter Gulacsi, who, incidentally, spent last season on loan at npower Championship side Hull City.
5 mins - A half chance there for the hosts as Seb Lletget digs out a cross on the right. Sean Maguire is hovering ominously at the near post, but isn't able to get any purchase on a flicked header, as it continues on its path across the six-yard box.
3 mins - Liverpool are seeing more of the ball in these opening exchanges but have barely entered the final third as yet. If this is anything like the reverse fixture, a 3-3 draw at Melwood, then I suggest you stick around.
1 mins - It's Liverpool who get us off and underway, decked out in their predominantly black away number. The visitors are attacking the goal to my right in this first half, towards the Bobby Moore Stand.
18:57pm - No shortage of early drama here as my attempts to read out the teams on the PA system go down a storm. Never mind. Anywho, here come the teams in front of what is, a modest crowd, it has to be said. They are noisy enough, mind.
18:40pm - The teams are in and for the Hammers, Dan Potts and Jordan Spence are back in the mix, while Under-18 regular Ben Marlow comes in for Blair Turgott.
West Ham United U21s: Baxter, Driver, Potts, Marlow, Ruddock, Spence, Bywater, Moncur, Lee, S Maguire, Lletget
Subs: Shaw, Nemrava, Miles, Mavila, Burke
Liverpool U21s: Gulacsi, Flanagan, Roddan, Sama, Jones, Lussey, Nacho, Teixeira, Morgan, Adorjan, Petersson
Subs: Bijev, Ward, Mukendi, J Maguire, Dunn
A very good evening and welcome to the Boleyn Ground for this evening's Barclays Under-21 Premier League Elite Group fixture between West Ham United and Liverpool.
For Nick Haycock's side, nothing other than victory will suffice to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the competition's semi-finals.
Runaway leaders Tottenham Hotspur are already assured of their place, while the second and third-placed teams will also progress to the latter stages.
The Hammers are currently seven points behind this evening's visitors, who sit third and a further point adrift of Manchester United.
Tonight's clash is the Hammers' last at home, with rescheduled trips to both West Bromwich Albion and Southampton still to come.
Indeed, this is the Development Squad's final chance to record victory at the Boleyn Ground, having earlier drawn against Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
West Ham's second string are bidding for a second win in as many outings, thanks to last Friday's 3-2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Rush Green, their first in the Elite Group since February 8.
We will have team news for you as and when we get it, while there will be live text updates as of tonight's 7pm kick-off.