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Saturday 1st April 2023
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Tottenham Hotspur U18s 1-3 West Ham United U18s
U18 Premier League South, Tottenham Hotspur Training Centre, Saturday 25 February 2023 


Two goals from Callum Marshall saw West Ham United U18s cap off an excellent week, securing a hard-fought 3-1 victory against Tottenham Hotspur.

Just three days after an incredible FA Youth Cup quarter-final victory over Ipswich Town, which the Hammers won 4-2 after extra-time, Kevin Keen's side were back in U18 Premier League South action for a London derby.

The Hammers took the lead inside the opening ten minutes thanks to Marshall's fine finish, but Spurs hit back after the interval through Damola Ajayi.

An excellent goal from Dan Rigge quckly restored the lead, and Marshall's late strike added a third and ensured all three points returned to east London. 

Keen’s side have now moved 18 points clear at the top of the U18 Premier League South table, while their nearest rivals have eight league matches left to play this campaign.

U18s coach Gerard Prenderville was delighted with the team’s performance after a demanding week for the players.

Every single player was fantastic. You really can’t single out individuals because it was a real team performance and everyone played well.
Gerard Prenderville

“It’s a brilliant result for us after a brilliant week,” Prenderville told whufc.com. “The boys are absolutely delighted. We had a great result against Norwich last weekend and then a big win at Ipswich just a few days ago. Some of the boys that played here played 120 minutes in that game, so it’s an incredible result for us against Spurs.

“The performance was so good after the week that we’ve had. Every single player was fantastic. You really can’t single out individuals because it was a real team performance and everyone played well. There’s a real togetherness in this group and we’ve really demonstrated that this week.

“It’s great for the boys’ learning. If these boys want to have careers in football then they’re going to be asked to play two or three times a week at some stage, no matter what level they play at. They all demonstrated that they were capable of doing that today.”

The Hammers made a fast start and came close to taking the lead inside two minutes. Favour Fawunmi picked the ball up on the edge of the 18-yard box and unleashed a powerful strike. The winger’s effort took a wicked deflection and spun narrowly over the crossbar.

After a positive start, the Irons took a deserved lead after seven minutes. Marshall’s high press was rewarded and the striker smartly robbed Archie Chaplin of possession before slotting the ball past Luca Gunter from the edge of the box.

Callum Marshall celebrates scoring in West Ham United U19s' 8-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur

West Ham’s high press almost paid dividends once again midway through the first half. Rigge put pressure on Gabriel Han Willhoft-King, forcing him into poor back pass. The midfielder's misplaced pass bounced off the outside of the post and was eventually scrambled away from danger.

Rigge almost doubled the Hammers’ lead before half-time. Lewis Orford was well placed to make an interception and the No4 immediately poked the ball through to the playmaker, who smashed the ball just wide of the far post.

After a dominant first half, Keen’s side looked to start the second half just as in similar fashion to the first. After a lovely team move, the ball fell to Rigge on the edge of the box. The attacking midfielder looked to curl the ball into the top right corner, but his effort flew just over the crossbar.

Spurs found an equaliser against the run of play 12 minutes into the second half. Maxwell McKnight’s dangerous cross found Rio Kyerematen in space and the midfielder’s effort bounced off the post. After hitting the woodwork, the ball fell kindly to Ajayi who tucked the ball into the net from close range.

The Hammers responded immediately. Tyron Akpata’s cross was cleared as far as Rigge. The 16-year-old had come close on a host of occasions and finally got the goal his performance deserved, superbly curling into the far corner to restore West Ham’s lead.

Dan Rigge scores for the U18s

Marshall put the result beyond all doubt in the closing stages. Rigge’s superb through-pass found the striker and Marshall demonstrated superb strength to hold off his man before blasting the ball into the net on the turn, sparking jubilant celebrations.

Prenderville suggested that the players had to demonstrate a different side to their game in the second half after a dominant first half.

“We were fantastic in the first half,” he continued. “The press was good, we were aggressive, we won tackles and we probably should’ve scored more than just one. We gave Tottenham a chance because we knew that they’d be better in the second half.

“Tottenham were a lot better in the second half and they found an equaliser and all of a sudden they’re in the ascendancy. Our response was superb and the boys went on to score another two goals and we created several other good chances, so we’re super proud of the response after conceding.”

After conceding against the run of play, Rigge’s goal put the Hammers back in control almost instantly after the restart and Prenderville was delighted with his team's’ quick response.

“We were disappointed to concede the goal. We did a lot of work before the match defensively and we wanted to make sure that we stopped their crosses. We didn’t get that right on that occasion and we paid the price. 

West Ham United U18s coaches

“The boys didn’t panic and they showed fantastic resilience, as they have done all season. We immediately took back control of the match and then Callum’s late goal sealed the win for us.”

After an intense week the young Hammers now have two weeks to wait for their next game against Norwich on 11 March for another U18 Premier League South match.

Prenderville suggested that whilst the young guns have earned a week off, they will still be working hard on the training pitch in preparation for upcoming matches.

“We’ve got a big end to the season coming up and the boys are buzzing for it. They deserve a break and a bit of downtime, but we’ll still be out on the training pitch every day, the boys will still be doing their lessons so the work doesn’t stop.

“This group just want to keep improving and we want to help them continue their development. We’ll keep asking them for more and I’m sure they’ll keep giving us that.”

West Ham United U18s: Herrick, Battrum ©, Briggs, Falase (Mayers 61), Tarima, Jones (Adeile 79), Orford, Akpata, Uwandji (Kodua 79), Fawunmi (Rigge 11), Marshall 
Sub not used: Terry (GK)

Goals: Marshall 7, 88, Rigge 59
Booked: Tarima

Tottenham Hotspur U18s: Gunter ©, Andiyapan (Akhamrich 56) , Linton, Dorrington, Chaplin, Willhoft-King (Black 67), Kyerematen, Olusesi (Hall 67), McKnight, Williams, Ajayi
Subs not used: Bloedorn (GK), King

Goals: Ajayi 57

Booked: Andiyapan

Referee: Michael Butcher



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