West Ham United U21s 3-3 Southampton
Premier League 2, Rush Green Stadium, Friday 22 September, 7pm BST
Once again Callum Marshall was amongst the goals, although his brace was only enough for a point as West Ham United U21s battled to a 3-3 draw against Southampton on Friday evening.
In a hard-fought Premier League 2 fixture at Rush Green training ground, the Saints took the lead when skipper Kamrai Doyle curled a delicious free-kick over the wall and into the near corner with 19 minutes played.
West Ham United’s fifth PL2 outing of the season saw chances for both sides, with Jacob Knightbridge making a string of exceptional saves, before the Irons pulled level through George Earthy.
The No10 finished Callum Marshall’s inch-perfect cross from close range to restore parity midway through the first half.
Marshall was then on the scoresheet himself when he headed home a teasing cross from Dan Chesters, who again showed his quality in attack when bursting forward from right wing-back.
The game was in the Hammers’ favour at the break then, although the Saints struck twice in the second half to swing momentum back the way of the visitors,
Samuel Amo-Ameyaw’s effort proved to be too powerful for Knightbridge, who could only tip the Southampton No7’s shot onto bar before it crept over the line. Princewell Ehibhatiomhan then finished a stunning counter-attack to put the visitors ahead.
Marshall though had other ideas. His eleventh goal in his last eight games stole a point after a delicious pass from Coventry sent the forward through on goal in stoppage-time.
Seven games unbeaten now for the U21s, but, with chances missed either side of the break, a case of what could have been against the Saints.
West Ham United U21s: Knightbridge, Chesters, Laing (Luizão 75), Casey ©, Johnson, Scarles (Moore 83), Coventry, Kelly (Orford 75), Marshall, Mubama (Kodua 75), Earthy
Subs not used: Terry (GK)
Goals: Earthy 24 Marshall 39 Marshall 90+4
Booked: Mubama Marshall
Potts proud of character, praising Knightbridge and Marshall
Lead coach Steve Potts was proud of the character shown by his side to steal a late point.
A taxing week for the Hammers has seen wins over Celtic and Bristol Rovers, before a hard-fought draw against the Saints.
Despite the visitors ending a six-game winning run, there were plenty of positives to take according to Potts.
In particular, he was pleased with the efforts of his side to push right until the very end, and also picked out performances of goalkeeper Jacob Knightbridge and forward Callum Marshall.
We were 3-2 down going into injury-time and they are still running and trying to get a result.
They are still trying to that goal. And when they got the equaliser, you could argue we should have won it. We nearly did. We had a couple of chances to go and win it, which would have been fantastic. But the massive plus for me is the way they have kept going, especially with some tired bodies out there from the third game in a week.
With Callum, he just keeps on going and going.
He has got another two goals tonight but first and foremost what is all about is that workrate. That is unquestionable. You know what you are going to get with him, and because of that work, he is going to get chances and score goals. And tonight, he has scored two and set the other one up.
I thought Jacob made some fantastic saves tonight
Southampton were a real threat on the counter-attack. Fair play to him because without him it would have been a different scoreline altogether. When we lost the ball, they broke so well and Jacob made some good saves tonight.
Scarles: A strong bond off the pitch helps us on it
A late point against the Saints was secured thanks to the U21s' character, according to Ollie Scarles.
The young Hammers saw Callum Marshall net late on, as a game that swung one way and then another, finished all-square.
Both sides had their chances. Both sides fought valiantly. Both sides ultimately felt they could have got the win.
“We are disappointed we didn’t pick up the three points,” Scarles explained, “but we will take the point onto the next game.
“Even in the late minutes of the game, we are sticking together, and we manage to get that last goal to get a point that helps us out in the league.
“It shows how hard we work to stay in the game and get that point.”
Now focus must turn to a tough away test against Manchester City next weekend.
Scarles believes the Irons have the quality to head into the October international break, with another positive result under their belts.
“All focus is on Manchester City now,” he explained. “It’s about us working on that game plan and making sure we can turn a point into three next weekend.
“The boys are flying at the moment, and we are happy [to make it seven games unbeaten]. There is a really strong bond off the pitch and that helps us massively on the pitch.
“I think you can see it, the way we play together and hopefully we can keep this run going against Manchester City.”
West Ham United U21s will next be in action when they travel to Manchester City on Saturday 30 September.
The match will be played at the Academy Stadium in Manchester. Kick-off is set for 1pm.