Stokes Shoots Down Gunners

A HAT-TRICK from Tony Stokes gave West Ham United Under-18s a 3-2 win at Arsenal.

After a bright start, Hammers took the lead on 18 minutes when Stokes turned the ball home from a corner.

The goal seemed to fire up the hosts, though, and they drove back at West Ham with intensity during the first-half. Eventually, they equalised five minutes from the break, to send the teams in tied 1-1 at the interval.

Tony Carr's team began the second-half the way they finished the first, and it wasn't long before Stokes had the Hammers in front again, slotting home following a goalmouth scramble.

What followed was a spate of Hammers pressure that should have seen them seal all three points. David Cowley's wicked effort came back off the post, before Danny Bunce's cross was met by the head of Stokes, but the ball whistled over the bar.

But, totally against the run of play, Arsenal drew level on 79 minutes and suddenly it looked as though Tony Carr's valiant young team would leave with only a point to show for their effort.

No one told that to Tony Stokes, though as he netted five minutes later to seal a fantastic hattrick and an excellent win for the young Hammers.

Tony Carr said afterwards: "I thought the boys were excellent today, especially in the second-half. It was a great contest, played in good spirit and I was pleased for Tony Stokes. He's been playing in midfield recently, but he went back up front today and put in a really good case for himself.

"That means we've done the double over Arsenal this season, and I can't remember the last time we did that at youth level. It was a well-earned three points."

WHU: Behcet; Andrews, White, Tomkins, Bunce, Allen (Ephraim 64), Georgiou (Reid 78), Shaw, Cowley, Welsh, Stokes. Subs unused:  Ashikodi, Reed (GK), Davidson.