West Ham United completed their Barclays U18 Premier League season with a hard-earned 2-0 victory at Stoke City.
The Hammers ended the Tier One Stage campaign with a fourth victory in five outings in the Potteries through goals either side of half-time from trialist Joe Ward and schoolboy forward Djair Parfitt-Williams.
Academy Director Tony Carr MBE praised his young squad - Parfitt-Williams was one of five schoolboys to start at Stoke - for their resilience and clinical finishing at Stoke.
"We won 2-0," said Carr. "We put in a very disciplined performance and defended very well against a Stoke attack that was very direct and saw a lot of high balls pumped into our penalty area. It was a good rearguard performance.
"We opened the scoring when Nathan Mavila dispossessed one of their defenders and had a shot that their goalkeeper parried into the path of Joe Ward, who tapped home to put us one-nil up at half-time.
"Our second goal came from Djair and was another case of us breaking up their play and winning the ball back. Djair picked the ball up and ran through and poked it past the goalkeeper from close range with about ten minutes remaining.
"It was a well-worked victory and fully deserved."
Carr has been pleased with the way the Under-18s have been performing in recent weeks, praising the youngsters for tightening things up at the back. West Ham have conceded just eight goals in their final seven league matches to finish third in the Tier One table, having been bottom of the pile at one stage.
"We were talking on the coach on the way back from Stoke about how we had played well in most of our matches, but that we had been conceding sloppy goals that had put us on the back foot.
"We have worked on it and have been a lot more secure in recent weeks, which has enabled us to record some good results.
"We have now got two friendly matches to finish the season against Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton, where we will blood the Under-17s and the schoolboys to prepare them for next season."
The Tottenham fixture will be away from home next Saturday, but West Ham fans will be welcome to come down to Little Heath on Saturday 18 May for the 11.30am home kick-off against the highly-rated Saints.
West Ham United U18s: Nemrava, Knoyle, Onariase, Harney, Burke, Page, Miles (Girdlestone), Makasi, Parfitt-Williams, Mavila, Ward (Boakye-Yiadom)