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Saturday 21st October 2023
KO - 12:30
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Little Heath Sports Ground
Derby County U18

West Ham United U18s 5-2 Aston Villa U18s
U18 Premier League South Division, Saturday 16 September 2023, 12pm BST

On Saturday afternoon, Joshua Ajala’s brace saw West Ham United U18s secure a stunning 5-2 win over Aston Villa.

The 16-year-old was in imperious form at Little Heath training ground turning in the Club’s second and third in an incredible afternoon that moved Kevin Keen’s men to unbeaten in three matches in all competitions.

The Irons’ second victory of the season was set in motion by striker Jemiah Umolu, who got the ball rolling when he found the bottom right corner with a neat swish of his left foot on 18 minutes.

His effort was followed by Ajala’s brace. His fourth goal in his last three matches saw the young Hammers into a 3-0 lead in 40 minutes. 

Aston Villa did pull a goal back on the stroke of half-time through Luka Lynch but any jeopardy around the result was quickly forgotten when Dan Rigge found Favour Fawunmi, who netted the Irons fourth 23 minutes after the restart.

Rigge later found the net himself as his penalty would round off the win after Villa scored a second through Abube Onuchukwu with three minutes to play.

And as a result, the Hammers, with six points from their first three league games, move third in the U18 Premier League South Division table, with both of the top two – Fulham and Crystal Palace – to have played one game more.

West Ham United U18s: Abraham, Battrum, Briggs, Mayers, Jones (Adeile 59), Fawunmi, Akpata (Nwosu 59), Caliste, Ajala (Medine), Rigge, Umolu (Sowunmi 76)
Subs: Awesu

Goals: Umolu 18, Ajala 32 41, Fawunmi 67, Rigge 90+1
Booked: Akpata


Coggin praises five star performance from U18s

U18s assistant coach Lauris Coggin was delighted by his side's performance as the young Hammers struck five goals to defeat Aston Villa. 


Incredibly, the U18s have now scored nine goals in their last three matches in all competitions, with strikers Jemiah Umolu and Joshua Ajala in particular finding the net frequently. 

Coggin stated: "Josh has been brilliant coming from a different Club, but he has made a great start to his West Ham career.

"Jerry continues to work really hard, and you have seen the goals he has scored over the past weeks. You can see his hard work paying off and he continues to show he is clinical when he gets the chance. We are really pleased with the results we are getting recently but there is more to come."

However, it was not just the forwards who shone at Little Heath training ground, as a third match unbeaten came credit of performances across the pitch, according to Coggin.

The attitude and efforts of the U18s, who have more than shaken off an opening day defeat away to Arsenal in recent weeks, meant there was plenty to be pleased about come the final whistle. 

Skill and flair yes, but plenty of grit and determination too.

He added: "The performance overall was really good against Aston Villa. It is a new group every year in U18s football and this year we have got some really talented boys again. But it is about getting our ideas across and that takes time.

"I think we try to communicate our ideas to the player and the group we have are really exciting. Bringing those together an creating a style of play that is synonymous with West Ham…exciting but with a real determination as well, is the aim.

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