Hammers Unlucky

An unlucky booking for Mitchell Cole robbed the youngster of a place in the final of the annual ADO youth tournament in the Hague on Sunday - and had an influence on the outcome of the game, which West Ham lost to Liverpool.

Tony Carr, who was with the under-18s in Holland, says: "Mitchell got a booking in the semi-final for kicking the ball away. He was still in the throes of making the action when the whistle went so it was very harsh.

"Those were the rules but we had to abide by them, and as it was a second booking in the tournament it deprived him of the final.

"Normally the bookings are wiped off after the group stages - but not this time, and I felt for Mitchell."

West Ham, defending the tournament, were in one of two groups of four teams with Wolves, hosts Den Haag, and Italian club Brescia.

The opening game against our fellow countrymen resulted in a 2-1 win with goals from Greg Pearson and Ayo Akinsete.

The second match again saw the Hammers victorious against the Dutch, thanks to a Billy Mehmet penalty, and Tony, taking up the story, says: "It guaranteed us a place in the semi-final so I made seven changes for the Brescia game and we lost 2-0 - but the result was immaterial in terms of qualifying.

"We played the semi-final against the team that won their group, Feyenoord, who had beaten Liverpool on the way 3-2.

"We won that game 1-0 and it was an excellent performance - looking back, that game was our cup final.

"We gave so much in the game and, for me, got the goal of the tournament when Mitchell Cole crossed for Phil Lumsden to fling himself at it and get a header.

"In the final against Liverpool we went 1-0 down and equalised, it went to 2-1 and we equalised again, but they scored 20 minutes from time and to be honest we just didn't have enough left to drag it back because we had run out of legs.

"Liverpool were the worthy winners, but I was proud of our boys."

The scorers in the final were Phil Lumsden, and an own goal after a Greg Pearson shot was parried by the Liverpool goalkeeper onto a defender.

Ironically, the scoreline was a reverse of last season's tournament final, which West Ham won after beating Liverpool.

Overall, Tony says that he is happy with the progress of his young charges as they get ready for the new campaign, and he says: "We can go into the season with good heart and full of optimism.

"It was invaluable experience in Holland that you just can't get on the training field and I was really pleased with the overall performances.

"There is a tendency for end of season tours to be a bit low key because the boys are tired, but this was excellent preparation to get match fit.

"Hopefully we can go on and have a good season now."

The 'first' eleven in Holland were Glen Jackson, Trent McClenahan, Brent Tattam, Phil Lumsden, Elliot Ward, Anton Ferdinand, Ayo Akinsete, Danny Bunce, Billy Mehmet, Greg Pearson, and Mitchell Cole, while Sam Wright, Ian Tucker, Danny Morris, Marce Collington, Darren Blewitt, Tommy Laws and Ronnie Fletcher also played their part.