West Ham United Under-18s stretched their impressive unbeaten run to nine games with a 3-1 victory over league leaders Fulham at Little Heath on Saturday.

After a quiet first period, striker Jordan Brown put the Hammers ahead by tapping in Kieran Bywater's cross, before Bywater turned from provider to scorer to bag his twelfth of the season.

Though Fulham halved the deficit through George Williams' well-taken penalty, Bywater grabbed his second of the day to restore the Hammers two-goal lead and secure all three points.

U18s manager Steve Potts again named Djair Parfitt-Williams in the starting line-up, after the 17-year-old Bermuda-born forward returned from injury to score a hat-trick in last weekend's 3-1 win at Reading. Captain Bywater, meanwhile, looking to add to his eleven goals in 14 appearances, lined up in midfield alongside Josh Cullen, Ben Marlow and Amos Nasha.

The Hammers started the livelier of the sides and within the first two minutes Bywater collected possession 30 yards out and smashed an effort towards the top corner, forcing a smart save from Fulham 'keeper Marek Rodak.

West Ham then went close once more when a goal-mouth scramble caused chaos in the visitors' box, but having cleared the initial danger, Marlow attempted a lob from the edge of the box, which flew high over the bar.

Fulham, meanwhile, had the ball in the back of the West Ham net, though the celebrations were short-lived, with Williams' effort being chalked off for offside. At the other end,  Bywater's free-kick flew narrowly over the bar. 

West Ham were much improved after the interval and took the lead when Bywater's low centre found Jordan Brown at the near post, who fired home.    

Then, seven minutes later  in almost identical fashion but from the other side, Bywater was perfectly positioned to double the Hammers' advantage from Lewis Page's precise left-footed cross.

The second goal seemed to spur the Cottagers into life, who halved the deficit thanks to a controversial penalty award. A West Ham centre-half rose highest in the box to clear with his head, but the referee pointed to the spot, allowing Williams to reduce the visitors' arrears.  

There was similar controversy in the Fulham box soon after, as a second penalty was awarded, this time for an apparent hand ball. It was up to Bywater to step up and secure the points, which he duly did, taking his tally for the season to 13 goals in 15 games.

Saturday's result takes the Hammers' unbeaten run to nine games and within just four points of leaders Fulham, who remained top on goal difference, after Tottenham Hotspur's youngsters saw off Arsenal.

Potts' men are back in action on Saturday 7 December, when they entertain Arsenal at Little Heath. Kick-off is set for 11am, while parking and admission are both free of charge.

West Ham Under-18s: Howes, Knoyle, Burke, Harney, Page, Marlow, Cullen, Nasha (Makasi), Brown (Mavila), Bywater, Parfitt-Williams. Subs not used: Brown, Onariase, Amoo.