Carr Praises Fighting Qualities

ACADEMY Director Tony Carr was delighted with his side's battling performance, as the Hammers Under-18s recorded their fifth straight victory with a 3-0 win over Charlton Athletic.

He said: "Last week Chelsea was a very technical and polished performance. Charlton was different. It was all about fighting, battling and winning the physical challenges.

"Again I cannot speak highly enough of our defenders. They were terrific and the clean sheet was just what they deserved for a very strong performance. The standard of our defending has been the hallmark of our season so far and once again it gave us the platform to go forward and build in attack.

"Zavon Hines did really well to win the ball back and set-up Tony Stokes for the first goal. Tony curled the ball home from 25 yards. The second was always going to be vital and fortunately it went to us. Densal Davidson did really well to cut the ball back and Zavon flicked it in.

"That sealed it for us. We'll draw a line under the penalty miss, but I was really pleased for Lee Hales to score the third. Lee hasn't been playing as much, but was really keen to get on and that shows the kind of team spirit we have.

"We played Tony Stokes in midfield because, with the greatest respect to both David Cowley and Lee, if we had played both of them we might have been a bit lightweight.

"We were also without Kyel Reid who can be a match-winner himself. I was very pleased with the result. We march on now and I have set the boys a challenge to stay unbeaten until Christmas. We are three games away from that now and hopefully we can do it."

Tony also explained that he is not worried about the progress of top of the table Southampton - instead preferring to focus on the progress and development of his own team.

"I have told the lads that I'm not worried about what Southampton do," said Tony, "because as long as we keep doing what we are doing then the rest will take care of itself.

"At the end of the day it's about the team's performance and the progress of the players. Of course, we would love to win the League, but if Southampton keep winning and we keep winning then there is nothing we can do about it.

"All we can do is keep winning and hope that at some stage before the end of the season we are within touching distance with a chance of overtaking them.