Youths lose to Watford

West Ham United's under-18 Academy side lost 3-2 against Watford on Saturday morning.

After his under-18 troops had been involved in Tuesday's reserve team defeat against the Hornets, Tony Carr named a young starting line-up consisting of no fewer than eight schoolboy players and, although they fought bravely throughout, the claret and blue youngsters were not as physically strong as their Watford counterparts.

On a blustery morning, Hammers were 2-0 down at half-time after fighting against the wind for the opening 45 minutes, but pulled one back midway through the second half when Jack Collison produced a neat finish.

The visitors then enjoyed their best spell of the game and came close to equalising on a number of occasions. Schoolboy striker Freddie Sears hit the post, while Collison saw another effort cleared off the line, before Watford broke away on the counter attack to claim a third in the closing stages.

There was still time for Hammers to grab their second, as Bondz Ngala netted from close range in the final minute of normal time, but the visitors didn't have time to push forward in search of a point-clinching third goal.

Tony Carr said afterwards: "It was a good game, although slightly spoilt somewhat by the windy conditions, which Watford took full advantage of in the first half.

"We were a lot better in the second half, though, and after pulling one back, we had a really good spell that should have produced another goal.

"I couldn't fault the effort of the boys, though. We had only three full-time lads playing, and lost one of those after 35 minutes when Lorcan Fitzgerald went off injured.

"Sadly, we just lacked that cutting edge in front of goal, but the young boys gave a good account of themselves and it was a chance for us to have a look at those who are going to be playing at this level regularly next season."

Hammers: Blackmore; Brooks, Spence, Ngala, Fitzgerald (Blackwell 35); Bowes (Labadie 50), Collison, Harvey, Stanislas (Jeffery 58); Sears, Hunt. Subs unused: Tomkins, Widdowson.