Youths beat Charlton

West Ham United's Under-18s rounded off the first half of their FA Premier Youth Academy campaign with a 3-2 victory over Charlton Athletic on Friday afternoon.

In their final match before a month-long winter break, Tony Carr's side saw off their London rivals with goals from Bondz Ngala, Lee Hales and Lorcan Fitzgerald.

Hammers were dealt a blow early on as Charlton took the lead with a long-range wind-assisted shot, but fought back with two goals inside the space of five minutes midway through the first half.

First a Jack Collison header from a corner was handled by a defender, allowing Hales to equalise from the spot on 20 minutes, then Ngala headed home from close range following a goalmouth scramble to ensure that the hosts took a 2-1 lead into the break.

Charlton hit back to draw level early in the second half but, after withstanding some intense pressure from their opponents, Hammers came good again and Fitzgerald grabbed a superb winner with 15 minutes remaining.

Ashley Miller found Junior Stanislas, who swung over an excellent cross from the right that Fitzgerald met at the far post to head low past the goalkeeper.

Academy Director Tony Carr said: "I'm really pleased with the result, and the boys are delighted to have got a bit of revenge for our FA Youth Cup defeat against Charlton last month.

"We had to weather the storm after they equalised early in the second half, but the players showed great determination and attitude to fight back again and get a deserved winner.

"It's nice to go into the Christmas break on the back of a good victory, and the boys will now get a good rest before our next game against Arsenal on January 13 - a match we really have to win if we want to top the group."

Hammers: Stech; Miller, Spence, Ngala, Blackwell; Stanislas, Hales (Harvey 80), Collison, Fitzgerald; Sears (O'Neill 82), Hunt (Jeffery 85). Subs unused: Brooks, Bowes.