Michael Forbes 29
Kallum Cesay 2
Dane Scarlett 32, 64 (pen)
Tarrelle Whittaker 78
West Ham United vs Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United U18s 1-4 Tottenham Hotspur U18s
U18 Premier League South
West Ham United Under-18s fell to a 4-1 defeat in their 2020/21 U18 Premier League South season opener against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday morning.
In their first competitive fixture in just over six months, lead coach Kevin Keen’s U18s were looking to build on a strong end to their last campaign and a productive pre-season, but came unstuck at the hands of a visiting side who finished clinically.
Despite having beaten Spurs – coached by former Hammer Matt Taylor – on three separate occasions last season, West Ham fell behind after just two minutes played at Little Heath, when Tottenham full-back Kallum Cesay drilled in from the corner of the penalty area.
The Hammers recovered from that early blow in a competitive first half to almost equalise through Gael Kileba, and soon after, new scholar Michael Forbes rose highest to emphatically head home Kai Corbett’s sweetly struck corner and haul his side level.
Unfortunately they were unable to consolidate on that position, and Tottenham regained the lead just three minutes later through England youth international Dane Scarlett, who dispatched a cross from close range.
Sonny Perkins enjoyed a good opportunity to level the score for West Ham before half-time, and Kamarai Simon-Swyer forced the visiting goalkeeper into a fine near-post save, but West Ham had it all to do following the interval.
Despite showing plenty of intent following the restart, however, it was Tottenham who scored the next goal. Counter-attacking at pace from a corner, Scarlett won the visitors a penalty and subsequently stepped up to find the bottom corner with the resulting kick.
West Ham keeper Josh Roach produced some fine saves to stop Scarlett from getting a hat-trick, but could do nothing to prevent Tarrelle Whittaker’s looping finish off the inside of the woodwork with 13 minutes remaining.
That was the way the score stayed, and assistant coach Mark Phillips feels that, despite the result, there were positives for West Ham to glean from the encounter.
“To be fair to Tottenham, I thought they were a good side and deserved to win the game, albeit not by such a big margin,” Phillips said.
“It was pleasing to see that we didn’t give up and I thought we showed a bit of character. We had six first-year scholars start the game, most of whom hadn’t played at Under-18 league level before, which is good for the future.
“It doesn’t get any easier – we’re away to Chelsea next week – so we’ve got to learn quickly. That’s the level we’re playing at now, so we have to rise to the challenge.
“It’s our first defeat at Little Heath for over a year, but there were positives to take away from it and there are things we’ve got to work on, so we’ll be working hard on the training pitch this week to put things right as a group.
“I’d like to think when we go to Tottenham’s ground later in the season, we’ll have learned and we’ll give a better account of ourselves.”
West Ham U18s’ next game in U18 Premier League South is away at Chelsea on Saturday 19 September. The match will be played strictly behind closed doors.
West Ham United Under-18s: Roach, Robinson, Adebayo, Forbes, Evans, Potts, Woods (Veliky 72), Perkins (Mubama 60), Kileba (Coddington 68), Simon-Swyer, Corbett
Subs: Knightbridge, Adu
Goal: Forbes (28)
Booked: Adebayo, Perkins, Corbett, Veliky