Hammers youths held by Millwall

It was an important point gained, but on another day for West Ham United's Under-18s, the scoreline would surely have been quite different.

The young Hammers drew 0-0 away at Millwall this afternoon in a match they totally dominated, but just could not find the final strike to get the ball over the line.

The result places Tony Carr's side at the top of the league table above Arsenal. Although the Gunners have a game in hand, West Ham remain unbeaten in nine games now and are playing with as much confident as ever.

Hammers took control early in the game and started to attack the Millwall goal. The home side were standing strong in defence though. Chances fell to Zavon Hines and Joe Widdowson, but shots went wide.

After the break, Hammers started where they left off in the first, but it was to be a frustrating afternoon. No fewer than 20 attempts on goal still brought no end product.

A mix of strong defending and luck by Millwall coupled with the final ball not going the way West Ham wanted saw the game finish as a stalemate. But there could be no complaints about the work put in by the Hammers to win this game, with Millwall being saved by the woodwork on countless occasions.

James Tomkins could only watch as his effort hit the bar, followed only minutes later by Bondz N'Gala's shot doing the same. Hines, making his first start following two substitute appearances after returning from his long injury lay-off, also went close with a searing strike.

Millwall could count themselves lucky when they managed to clear Widdowson's seemingly goal-bound shot off the line. With the minutes ticking away, Hammers continued to plug away and once again came within a whisper of scoring the goal they deserved.

Substitute Freddie Sears collected the ball and with only the goalkeeper to beat, shot agonisingly wide. It was a fighting performance that pleased Tony, but was equally frustrating at the same time.

Speaking after the game, he said: "We did everything but score. I can't complain about the effort and determination from the boys in trying to win this game. It just didn't happen for us today.

"Maybe we lacked a bit of quality in the final ball when it mattered, because on another day, we would be talking about a 4-0 or 5-0 win here.

"Millwall set their stall out in that they were determined not to get beaten, they defended well at times to stop us but were lucky as some of our chances will show. It was a poor pitch so it was hard to play flowing football, it was all about trying to make the most of the second ball.

"I told the boys at half-time that we had to keep getting the crosses in there, keep the pressure on in their goal and we did just that, but just couldn't score today.

"There was no lack of us creating chances, just putting the ball over the line. There are two league games to go. The ball, if you like is in Arsenal's court a bit because they have a game in hand. It's been more a frustrating afternoon than a disappointing one, because we did our best. All we can do is keep going and see where it takes us."

Hammers: Blackmore, Miller, Blackwell, N'Gala, Tomkins, Hales (Spence, 85), Harvey, Collison, Hunt (Stanislas 75), Hines (Sears, 65) Widdowson
Subs Unused: Stech, O'Neill

By Laura Burkin