Youths lose at Southampton

West Ham United's Under-18s suffered a 2-1 defeat against Southampton in the FA Premier Academy League on Saturday.

Tony Carr's side were left disappointed to have come away from Staplewood with nothing after a strong beginning, which saw them take the lead in the 10th minute through Junior Stanislas, who cut inside and unleashed a powerful shot from 40 yards out that flew in to the net.

Southampton were struggling to contain the Hammers, who then saw Lorcan Fitzgerald hit the post. Not long after, West Ham saw another goal-bound chance cleared off the line.

But the home side drew level when Marek Stech's clearance was intercepted and Southampton equalised to make it all square at half-time.

In the second half, Hammers went close to regaining the lead, when Gary Bowes just missed the target following a one-to-one with the keeper, while Jack Collison also had a good chance after a great through-ball from Fitzgerald.

But it was Southampton who got the winner, when a cross from the right was turned in towards the goal and the ball bobbled over the line.

Tony Carr said afterwards: "We started very brightly and led with a fantastic goal from Junior Stanislas. We continued to put the pressure on Southampton and had more chances to score.

"We gifted them their first goal, though, and then they went on to grab a second and it was disappointing because we had done more enough to get something from this match.

"But we had eight first year boys playing against what was a much stronger and experienced Southampton side and you have to remember that makes a big difference. They were a lot more physical and the lads can take a lot from how they competed against them for the 90 minutes.

"It's a real learning curve all the time at this level and we take what we have learnt from this into our next game, which is against Chelsea on February 3.

"Chelsea are currently third in the table and we are second, so we are looking to get a result that will further cement that second place for us and keep Chelsea behind us."

Hammers: Stech, O'Neill, Blackwell, Spence, Tomkins, Fitzgerald (Jeffery 75), Harvey (Ngala 85), Collison, Bowes (Hales 55), Sears, Stanislas. Subs unused: Blackmore, Miller

by Laura Burkin