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West Ham United U18s 6-0 Norwich U18s 
U18 Premier League South, Little Heath Sports Centre, Saturday 18 February 2023, 12pm GMT 

West Ham United U18s impressively returned to winning ways with a comprehensive 6-0 victory over Norwich City.

After two consecutive defeats in the U18 Premier League South division, Kevin Keen’s young Hammers responded superbly at Little Heath on Saturday, recording their biggest league victory of the season.

The Irons flew out of the blocks, taking the lead immediately through Callum Marshall. Favour Fawunmi’s solo goal was quickly followed by an own goal, before birthday boy Lewis Orford ensured that the hosts were four goals ahead heading into the interval.

Liam Jones scored West Ham’s fifth goal at the start of the second period and Tyron Akpata rounded off the scoring in an impressive showing for the hosts.

As a result of the high-scoring victory, the young Hammers have moved fifteen points clear at the top of the U18s Premier League South table.

Our intensity was fantastic, we chased every ball down and our press was really effective.
Mark Phillips

U18s coach Mark Phillips was delighted with the team’s intensity throughout the 90 minutes.

“We’re really pleased with that,” Phillips told whufc.com. “Unfortunately we lost our last two matches in the league and we were keen to put things right. We had a plan before the match and the players executed it really well. We scored six goals and kept a clean sheet so it’s a successful day.

“Our intensity was fantastic, we chased every ball down and our press was really effective. It can be difficult to keep high standards at 4-0 and 5-0 but I think our boys played at a high level for the entirety of the match.”

West Ham raced into an early lead inside the opening minute. Marshall’s high pressure was rewarded as the striker pounced onto a goalkeeping error before tapping the ball into the empty net.

Norwich City, to their credit, looked to respond immediately and a superb cross found Michael Reindorf in space inside the 18-yard-box. The No10 looked to head the ball into the left corner but his effort flew narrowly wide of the post.

Favour Fawunmi

The Hammers doubled their advantage on 16 minutes when Orford’s quick free-kick found Fawunmi in space on the left flank. The winger showed excellent pace and skill to drive into the box before cleverly poking the ball into the bottom right corner.

The Irons had a three-goal advantage before 20 minutes had been played. Jones found space in the wing, and the left-back whipped in a superb low cross in search of Gideon Kodua. The dangerous cross raced passed the West Ham striker, before deflecting off a Norwich defender and into the net.

Orford gave the hosts a four goal advantage with ten minutes remaining in the first half. The ball fell to the midfielder on the edge of the box and the newly turned 17-year-old demonstrated fantastic skill and awareness to manoeuvre his way past the opposition defender, before striking the ball into the bottom right corner with his left foot.

Keen’s side scored their fifth goal of the match inside the opening ten minutes of the second half. Jones picked up the ball on the left flank and drove into the penalty area before unleashing a powerful strike to beat Caleb Ansen at his front post.

Lewis Orford celebrates scoring for West Ham United U18s against Southampton

The sixth and final goal of the match was scored on 66 minutes. Blaise Uwandji used his pace to drive to the touch line before calmly sliding the ball back to Akpata. The midfielder took a touch before driving the ball into the net to secure his first goal of the season.

Phillips highlighted the crucialness for the side to respond after two consecutive league defeats.

He continued: “It was really important for us to respond today and we wanted to make a fast start and we achieved that. Our intensity was there right from the start and we were rewarded with a goal after about 45 seconds. 

“We kept our foot on the pedal throughout the rest of the first half and we were delighted to be 4-0 up at half time. We made it clear to the players that we wanted them to keep our intensity up and we managed to grab a couple more goals.”

With the side comfortably leading, Phillips was pleased that the management team had the opportunity to give some younger players some minutes.

Mark Phillips

“It was nice to see a few lads making their debuts and we also gave a few younger lads some minutes too. We always track their progress and they also play for us in U17s games so we are very aware of them and they’re doing well.

“They deserved their opportunity and they didn’t look out of place. They did really well.”

The young Hammers are now entering an important week with an FA Youth Cup quarter final coming up on Wednesday night.

Phillips suggested that the team are in a good place ahead of their trip to Portman Road to face Ipswich.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” Phillips added. “It’s the kind of occasion that everyone is looking forward to and it’s what we play and work in football for. It is a big week ahead and we’ve made a good start because we were desperate to win today. We have the Youth Cup on Wednesday and a tough away game in the league against Spurs a few days later.

“We’ve got a bit of momentum back after today and we’ll look to take that into our next couple of games. If we can win our next two matches then we are in a great position for the rest of the season.”

West Ham United U18s: Herrick, Battrum, Scarles (Mayers 45), Orford (Adeile 63), Falase, Tarima, Fawunmi, Akpata, Marshall (Uwandji 57), Kodua © (Briggs 63), Jones
Subs not used: Terry (GK)
Goals: Marshall 1, Fawunmi 16, Renecke OG 20, Orford 34, Jones 54, Akpata 66

Norwich U18s: Ansen, Pinyoun, Owen, Doy © (Ofori-Manteaw 67), Renecke (Keita 67), Djedje, Eze, Myles, Roberts (Thompson 45), Reindorf (Daly 45), Valencia-Gomez

Referee: Paul Quick

youth cup


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