Youths win 2-1 at MK Dons

West Ham United's Under-18's kept their unbeaten run going with a hard-fought but well-deserved win away at MK Dons.

Hammers had to dig deep in what was a battling game between the two sides, but goals from Jack Jeffery and Junior Stanislas were enough to ensure victory.

The Dons scored a consolation effort late on with a penalty but it was Tony Carr's side that went home with all the points in the 2-1 win.

Hammers took the lead 20 minutes into the first half. Good build-up play was rewarded with a free-kick and Jeffery was in the box to strike the ball home.

Strong defensive work by the Hammers saw the home side restricted to just a few efforts and a committed performance saw them go into the break still in the lead.

The second half continued in a similar vein. With every flick and tackle going in from both sides it wasn't pretty, but Hammers more than held their own and got their deserved second goal in the 70th minute.

A good cross from substitute Ryan O'Neill fell perfectly to the feet of Stanislas who put the ball into the back of the net.

West Ham kept the pressure up and looked like keeping a clean sheet to reward their solid display at the back, when Dons were awarded a penalty with what was the last kick of the game.

Tony was pleased with the team's performance and said it was a good victory fought out in difficult circumstances.

He said: "It was pleasing because it was a sloping pitch that was very bumpy. Having said that, you just have to get on with it and we did, but it did mean the football wasn't flowing. It was a lot of flicked-on headers and battling for the ball and jut trying to get a pass through.

"At half-time we were 1-0 up and I said to the boys that the next goal would be very important. If they (MK Dons) scored then it puts us on the backfoot, but if we get it, then we can go on and win the game.

"I was delighted because we went out there and although the goal didn't come until pretty late on, it was a strong performance by everybody. We were a bit disappointed not to have come away with a clean sheet because, as much as it's important to score goals, the targets are also to keep the goals out at the other end.

"The penalty for me was to be debated and it came too late to have any significance on the match."

Tony rested some of his starting regulars, with the likes of Freddie Sears and James Tomkins on the bench.

He explained: "There's a lot of football being played by these boys at the moment. Several of them are involved in the reserves, so it's two games a week.

"I just wanted to share the load around so no one is being over-worked and others get a chance. The lads who came in and played who have not been in the starting line-up recently and did well so I was very pleased."

by Laura Burkin

Hammers: Stech, Miller, Widdowson, Spence, N'Gala, Harvey, Stanislas, Hales, Hunt (O'Neill), Fitzgerald, Jeffery (Sears)
Unused subs: Blackmore, Tomkins, Blackwell