Under 18s Seal Dramatic Win

AN injury-time winner from Moses Ashikodi sealed all three points for the Hammers in a dramatic 4-3 victory over Crystal Palace at Copers Cope Road.

Tony Carr¹s side made hard work of the win though, surrendering a 3-0 second-half lead to the home side, before grabbing a last gasp winner in the FA Premier Under-18 League clash.

The match started evenly, with neither side able to take control of proceedings. Palace grew in stature as the half went on though, and forced Hammers goalkeeper Matt Reed into a fine diving save midway through the first period.  
But it wasn¹t until the 40th minute that the contest really sparked into life, when a touchline clash between Densal Davidson and a Crystal Palace defender saw both players sent-off. The dismissals proved to be a strange prelude to events at Upton Park a few hours later, when Hayden Mullins and Brighton forward Adam Virgo were both sent-off in a similar incident during the first-team¹s game against the Seagulls.

The sending-off opened up the game, and two minutes before half-time West Ham took the lead. Striker Tony Stokes was bundled over in the area and dispatched the resulting penalty himself to send Tony Carr¹s side in 1-0 up at the break.
The Hammers came out for the second-half full of confidence, and were 2-0 ahead after 57 minutes. Hogan Ephraim¹s free-kick was headed back across goal by Liam White, and it was Stokes who was again on the spot to head home from close range.
Three minutes later and the Hammers looked to have wrapped up the game.

Stokes was again involved in the goal, receiving the ball from Danny Bunce and firing in an effort, which the Eagles ¹keeper could only parry into the path of Ishmael Welsh, who duly swept the ball home.

At 3-0 up the Hammers looked to be cruising, but a determined Crystal Palace had other ideas. On 68 minutes the home side pulled one back and six minutes later they made it 3-2 after a low cross into West Ham¹s penalty area looked to be turned home by the foot of a Hammers defender.

And just four minutes later a remarkable Eagles comeback was completed when Palace equalised through Gabban¹s near post drive, to stun Tony Carr¹s young Hammers.

The thrilling London derby clash looked to be heading for a draw, but know one had explained that to Hammers striker Moses Ashikodi, who had replaced the injured David Shaw early in the second-half.

Deep into injury-time he received the ball on the half-way line, powered away from the Palace defence, shrugged off a last-gasp challenged and drilled home a dramatic winner for Tony Carr¹s side. The final-whistle sounded soon after, brining to a close a memorable encounter. The 4-3 win was the young Hammers¹ first in three games, and will give them a big boost going into this Saturday¹s clash with another of their London rivals, Arsenal, at Little Heath.

WHU: Reed; Laws, Henry, White, Blewitt, Shaw (Ashikodi 60), Davidson, Bunce,
Stokes (Yao 85), Ephraim, Welsh (Reid 90).