Leicester City vs West Ham United
West Ham United U18s made it back-to-back away league wins as they overcame Leicester City U18s 3-1 at the Leicester City Training Ground on Saturday morning.
A brace from Veron Parkes and a calm finish from Sebastian Nebyla was enough to see Kevin Keen’s side come away with all three points, although the Hammers were denied a clean sheet late on by a Connor Barrett strike.
The victory sees West Ham remain fourth in Premier League U18 South but there is now a seven-point gap between them and Saturday’s hosts Leicester in fifth.
West Ham U18s took the lead from the penalty spot just before the break after defender Will Greenidge was brought down inside the area. Veron Parkes stepped up and made no mistake to open the scoring.
The goal was no less than the U18s deserved having fashioned a number of good chances towards the end of the first period.
Shortly after half-time Parkes had his second. The forward, who has been in excellent goalscoring form in recent weeks, combined well with Odemipo Odebeku, before finishing smartly to put West Ham in control in the Midlands.
The result was placed beyond doubt in the 67th minute as West Ham got a third through a well-worked team effort. Positive work in midfield from Lennon Peake saw him find Parkes in space, and the 18-year-old forward duly played in Sebastian Nebyla who finished well.
A late Conor Barrett strike for the home side made for a frenetic end to the game but Keen’s side were able to hold on for another impressive away victory.
Assistant coach Mark Phillips praised the performance of the young Hammers.
“It was a very good result,” he said. “We came out really strong in the second half and we were really pleased with how we played. Leicester are a really good side and a really good club and it’s great to go up there and get a result.”
West Ham U18s are yet to keep a clean sheet this season and changing that statistic has been a focus of the group, according to Phillips.
“Our main objective for the last couple of weeks has been to try and keep a clean sheet," he explained. "Unfortunately we weren’t able to do that today. The next best thing is to win by two goals, and we managed to do that. We won handsomely against Swansea last week, and we are really pleased to take six points from two tough away games.”
So far this season a number of the West Ham U18s have made the successful step up into the U23s and helping players develop remains the priority for the Academy side.
“Helping players progress is what it’s about,” continued Phillips. “Obviously you want to win football matches, but it’s not only about league results, it’s about helping players progress into the U23s and we are doing that whilst still progressing the U18s.”
West Ham United U18s: Sanneh; Greenidge, Thomas, Nsumbu, Okotcha (c), Appiah-Forson, Giddings (Velicky 75), Parkes, Nebyla, Odubeko (Trialist 71), Peake (Perkins 81)