Youths continue unbeaten run

West Ham United's Under-18s ensured their winning run continued with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

For Tony Carr's side, it was a sixth win in seven games and a confident display saw Lee Hale's 70th minute penalty enough to be the winner.

A tight first half saw chances few and far between for both sides, with the only shots on target coming from long distance.

After the break, both teams again pushed forward in an attempt on goal, but it was Hammers who were rewarded, following great work from substitute Zavon Hines.

Hines, who was making his first appearance since September, cut inside one defender before leaving another in his wake, but was brought down by a lunging tackle, and up stepped Hales to strike the spot-kick home.

Hammers had to defend strongly as Spurs looked for an equaliser, keeper David Blackmore pushing the ball onto the post late on, to deny the North Londoners.

The hosts finished strongly, though, and could have a had a couple more goals, Hines' header going close and Jack Collison was unlucky not to have increased the lead after a one-on-one with the Spurs goalkeeper.

The one goal was enough in the end and for Tony, it was a satisfying performance against a side who had beaten league leaders Arsenal the week before.

He said: "It was a game in which there were two teams full of confidence. We are on a good run and Spurs were also doing well, so I always thought that the first goal would be vital and could win the team who scored it, the match.

"It proved to be the case but the lads again dug in. Both teams in the first half were very cautious, so perhaps none of us created as much as we would have liked, no one wanted to make a mistake. We looked a bit tired towards the end of the half, probably because everyone is playing quite a bit of football at the moment, but we rallied really well.

"In the second half, we had a few more chances and it was a great piece of play from Zavon to set up the penalty, which was very well taken by Lee (Hales). Even though they had a couple of chances, I thought we finished strongly and was only a fraction away from adding another couple of goals. It was a good win."

It was a welcome return for Hines, but Tony was missing defender James Tomkins, who had tweaked his hamstring playing for the reserves last week and Jordan Spence, who is away on England duty.

Tony said: "It leaves us a bit short, but that is what happens when the boys are playing two games a week like this and there are international games going on.

"It was great to see Zavon back, it's been a while, but he's fit and raring to go and at this stage of the season, it's very important. Especially as I have lost James (Tomkins) for a couple of weeks, we're a bit short on bodies, so it's a tough call."

He added: "We have four games left, with a Friday game this week against Crystal Palace and it's a case of just keeping going. Arsenal lost again at the weekend so it's vital when they slip up that we can take advantage, like we did in winning against Spurs.

"We just got to make sure we can keep everyone as fit and healthy as possible until the end of the season. The boys have the momentum, there's no doubt about that and we'll carry that into the next game now."

Hammers: Blackmore, Miller, Fitzgerald, N'Gala, Widdowson, Hales, Stanislas, Collison, Jeffery (Hines 65), Sears, Lee (Hunt 65). Sub unused: Edgar