West Ham United U21s 5-0 Celtic B
Premier League International Cup, Chigwell Construction Stadium, Friday 15 September 2023
West Ham United U21s put on a comprehensive attacking display to comfortably beat Celtic B 5-0 in the Premier League International Cup.
Divin Mubama’s opener on ten minutes, turned in from six yards after Ollie Scarles’ wicked cross, came following a frantic opening period in which both sides registered big chances without netting.
West Ham’s lead was doubled just 12 minutes later as Callum Marshall scored his first of the evening, latching onto Levi Laing’s lobbed pass to slot home at the second attempt.
Marshall scored his second and West Ham’s third on 28 minutes with a smart finish, ensuring a dominant advantage for the Hammers at the interval.
It would only take the Irons three minutes in the second half to get a fourth, as Mubama maturely read a deflected shot and tucked in his personal second.
A host of substitutions followed for both sides and one of the introduced Irons, Lewis Orford, would net a beautiful fifth for the hosts just a few minutes after his introduction. The midfielder arrowed a well-taken strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the area, putting Steve Potts’ side in full control before an hour had been played.
Celtic’s best chance of the fixture came in the opening few minutes, when Magnus Mackenzie tried his luck from distance, but otherwise the Scottish side did little to test goalkeeper Joseph Anang or indeed trouble the Hammers defence.
Junior Robinson will feel he should have added sixth for West Ham on 77 minutes, but his headed effort from just a couple of yards out somehow went over the bar.
The comprehensive win means the development team have won two games out of two in the Premier League International Cup this campaign, having also beaten Valencia at Chigwell Construction Stadium last month by a 1-0 score-line.
West Ham United U21s: Anang, Chesters (Robinson 59), Johnson, Casey (c) (Forbes 54), Laing, Scarles (Moore 59), Coventry, Kelly (Orford 54), Earthy, Marshall (Kodua 54), Mubama
Subs not used: Knightbridge, Luizao
Goals: Mubama 10, 48, Marshall 22, 28, Orford 58
Marshall continues fine goalscoring form
Two more goals for Callum Marshall on Friday evening puts the 18-year-old on seven goals in six matches played for the U21s this season.
With five in Premier League 2 in his last three matches, the striker netted twice against Celtic. Ever self-critical, Marshall believes he should have scored even more on Friday evening.
“We knew that we had a really strong team going into the game tonight and we knew that we would be able to get at them and press high.
“I don’t think we expected them to play out as much as they did, which is a credit to them – but our press was good, and we were able to create chances by forcing them into mistakes.
“We dominated the whole game and made sure we got ahead early. I thought it was a really good game from everyone. We created a lot of really good chances, and I should have come away with a hat-trick. Some of the other lads could have had a couple more as well.”
While Friday’s match with the Buoys went in West Ham’s favour, the young Hammers now prepare for another tough test away to Bristol Rovers in the EFL Trophy.
Marshall is relishing the chance to show his ability against League One opposition.
“The win gives us some nice momentum heading into Tuesday’s game against Bristol Rovers, which will be a completely different challenge. We’ll be playing against a men’s team and that will be tough, but we’re coming into it in good form, and we feel confident going into the game.
“This group has a really strong bond and I think you can see that out on the pitch. We’re all playing really well together, and we want to build on the success we had as a group last season and continue progressing.”
Potts most pleased with work ethic and attitude
While Steve Potts is always delighted to see his young Hammers playing attacking football and scoring plenty of goals, the most pleasing aspect of Friday’s win was the attitude shown by the side.
Having stormed into a three goal advantage against Celtic, Potts could have comprehended the team perhaps taking their foot off the pedal a little. However, rather than ease off, the Hammers continued to push Celtic, scoring twice more in the second half and creating even more chances.
“Celtic played some good stuff and we knew they’d be really up for it but I think, with the way we played, we wore them down in the end and we got the goals. It was a real pleasing performance,” Potts said.
“We got better and better as the game went on. They got through us a couple of times and we had to get that right when we out of possession. But the most pleasing thing for me, overall, was the work rate of the team.
“The way our lads kept going and kept trying to do the right things was excellent. Particularly when the goals started going in. I think it’s easier to turn away from it when you’re three or four goals up, but the boys kept doing the right things throughout the whole match.”
The Premier League International Cup gives young English sides the chance to experience tactics and footballing philosophies from other countries, and Potts believes the tournament is an excellent way for the young Irons to learn even more about football.
He added. “This is a good competition. It’s a rest test for our boys. When we played Valencia in the last game, that was a tough test for us and it could have gone either way. Against Celtic, it was more convincing for us.
“We’re getting tested against different temperaments and the different ways that foreign teams play. We’re finding these teams can handle the ball but I think we’re learning about that, and we’re enjoying it.”
It is a quick turnround for the U21s, with a step into EFL Trophy action against Bristol Rovers.
The Hammers will face the EFL League One side at the Memorial Stadium on Tuesday 19 September, with kick-off set for 7.45pm.