Marcus Ifill 56, 90+1
West Ham United vs Brighton & Hove Albion
West Ham United U18s put in an improved display on Saturday morning but were undone by two second-half goals from Brighton & Hove Albion U18s.
Going up against the Seagulls at Little Heath Sports Ground, Kevin Keen’s youth team were seeking a first win of the calendar year.
An entertaining contest ensued in east London, with both teams creating clear chances in the first half without being able to take them.
The Irons’ best opportunity came midway through the first half when Jayden Fevrier picked out Divin Mubama with a pinpoint cross, but the England youth international saw his effort smothered by Brighton goalkeeper Toby Bull.
When the opening goal did arrive early in the second half, it went to Brighton substitute Marcus Ifill, who had only been on the pitch a matter of seconds when his chance arrived.
West Ham failed to clear their lines from a long ball and Ifill found himself in too much space from a Claret and Blue perspective to rifle home the breakthrough.
As the Hammers sought to fight their way back into the game, the introduction of a second-half Trialist from the bench saw the youngster thrice denied by fine stops by Bull, the best of which was a superb reflex save from a tight angle.
And the game was ultimately sealed by Ifill in the first minute of stoppage time as Brighton again found their No14 through the direct route, whose good finish put an unfair gloss on a largely even game.
“It was a good game of football,” assistant coach Mark Phillips reflected. “I think we had more chances, but the two Brighton did get, they were more clinical with.
“From our perspective, their goals were clear defensive mistakes which they capitalised on and took well. Apart from that, we don’t feel they created much against us, which is pleasing – if we keep playing in that sort of way, we’ll win more than we lose.
“That’s what we spoke about in the changing room afterwards. We wanted personality, which we showed. We wanted performance, which we showed – but unfortunately, we didn’t get the points.
“Those two aspects we were very pleased with – the performance on the day was good. We’re slowly finding our feet again.”
Sitting eleventh in U18 Premier League South, West Ham U18s’ next game is next Saturday (6 March) away at bottom-of-the-table Southampton, where they will be hoping to kickstart the second half of their 2020/21 season with a first win in seven matches.
West Ham United: Hegyi; Heal (Robinson 66), Adu, Forbes, Clayton, Potts, Woods, Fevrier, Swyer, Perkins (Kileba 71), Mubama (Trialist 70)