Youth team secure victory over Chelsea

Jack Collison's first-half strike was enough for West Ham United's Under-18s to take all three points against London rivals Chelsea at Little Heath on Saturday.

Collison struck the winner after half an hour in a match that the Hammers totally dominated and should have won by a bigger margin after creating several chances throughout.

Youth Academy boss Tony Carr had admitted before the game that a win against the Blues would further cement West Ham's second place and keep Chelsea behind them in third spot.

He said afterwards: "Arsenal are very much in the driving seat at the top of the league, but we will continue to chase and get as many winning results as we can. The most likely outcome is for us and other teams to be vying for the second place, so this result is important as it was against a good Chelsea side.

"The only downside was that we wasted a lot of chances, I don't think Chelsea could have complained if the scoreline had been 3-0 or 4-0. Being 1-0 up meant we were on edge because the other side can always nick something, so we didn't make things easy for ourselves. But I was pleased with the way we performed."

Hammers started off strongly and had a couple of chances to go ahead, but the goal that would turn out to be the winner came just 10 minutes before the break, when Collison cut inside from the right and then sent a low left-foot shot through a crowd of players and into the net.

In the second half, it seemed that it was only a matter of time before Hammers would score again, as Collison, unlucky not to have had a hat-trick, went close again to finding the net. James Tomkins and Jordan Spence also had opportunities.

However, Hammers' dominance in all other areas, especially in defence, meant that Collison's strike was enough and puts Carr's side in a good position ahead of another London derby on Saturday, this time at Millwall.

Carr said: "I was pleased with our overall performance and thought we defended excellently at times. The only criticism was that we didn't take all our chances and that's something I said to the boys about afterwards, but we will keep improving on that.

"It was the third match back for James Tomkins after his three-month injury lay-off, he is looking strong and back to full fitness and all round, the boys are in good form.

"Millwall is always a tough place to go at any level. They have just had a great run in the FA Youth Cup, only knocked out in the last 16, but we have to stand up to them and go again after this performance."

Hammers: Blackmore, O'Neill, Fitzgerald, Ngala, Tomkins, Spence, Stanislas, Collison, Jeffery, Hales, Sears. Subs: Blackwell, Miller, Lee

by Laura Burkin