Youths win at Palace

West Ham United's under-18 side continued their unbeaten run this year with a 3-2 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday morning.

Goals from Liam White, Zavon Hines and Jack Jeffrey secured three points for Tony Carr's men, who fought back to win after relinquishing a 2-0 lead before half-time.

The game started perfectly for Hammers, who opened the scoring after just five minutes, when central defender White headed home from a Kyel Reid corner.

By far the better side in the early stage, the visitors then doubled their lead after 25 minutes, as Hogan Ephraim's pass released Hines, who finished well from close range.

With a two-goal advantage under their belts, and Palace not displaying any real danger in attack, it appeared that Hammers were in line for a comfortable morning's work.

However, on the half-hour mark, we gifted the hosts a goal out of nothing, as a long ball over the top resulted in a defensive mix-up that saw goalkeeper David Blackmore rush off his line, only for White to head the ball back over him and into the empty net, giving the defender the dubious honour of scoring at both ends.

Lifted by their good fortune, Palace grew in confidence and, on the stroke of half-time, grabbed a second to make it 2-2 at the interval.

The second half produced a more even contest, as both sides searched for a breakthrough, and Palace had a great chance to turn the game on its head soon after the restart, but their striker lobbed over the bar when put clean through.

That miss proved costly for the Eagles, as Hammers grabbed what proved to be the winner on 65 minutes. Ephraim's pass found Hines, who twisted and turned in the box before cutting the ball back to the six-yard box, where Jeffrey got across his marker to flick the ball in at the near post.

The result signalled Hammers' third win in four games since the start of the new year, and Academy manager Tony Carr was pleased that his side managed to recover from their set-back prior to half-time.

"Having gone 2-0 up inside 25 minutes, we were in control and could have scored more," he said afterwards. "It was a case of could we go on and get a couple more, but then the game changed with the goal we gifted them soon after.

"It was a terrible mix-up, and unfortunately the goalkeeper has to take the blame, because he rushed out without shouting, just as Liam White was heading the ball back to him. Had he stayed put, the ball would have just dropped into his arms.

"The boys responded well after half-time, though, and had to go out and win the game again really. It was a much closer affair after the break, but we just had enough and in the end it was another very good win."

Hammers: Blackmore; Andrews, White, Tomkins, Widdowson; Ephraim, Hales, Cowley, Reid (Welsh 45); Hines (Davidson 80), Jeffrey (Henry 70). Subs unused: Fitzgerald, Kemal.