Under-18s held by Palace

West Ham United's Under-18's had to settle for a share of the points as they drew 2-2 away at Crystal Palace today.

A blistering first half display saw the Hammers go into a commanding 2-0 lead, Freddie Sears and Lorcan Fitzgerald getting the two goals in the space of 15 minutes.

The first strike saw good work from Jack Collison, he fed the ball to Sears, who made no mistake by shooting into the back of the net

And soon after Fitzgerald made it two, as he followed up more good play, this time from Junior Stanislas, to strike home from the far post.

Hammers were equally solid at the back and in midfield, as they restricted the home side to a few chances and went into the break with the strong lead intact.

In the second half, Palace started to grow in confidence and started to take the game to their visitors. They pulled it back to 2-1 with 20 minutes to go and then grabbed an equaliser, striking home from the edge of the box.

Bondz N'Gala had a good chance just before the end of the game, but agonisingly hit the post.

Speaking after the game, Tony Carr said: "We're disappointed because it feels like a bit of a defeat. You often hear the saying 'it was a game of two halves' and this was a match where it certainly was.

"We won the first half and they won the second. We were on fire in that first half, but to be fair to Palace, they're no mugs and are a decent side that have already held Arsenal here this season.

"We knew that the second half would be harder. We still played well as we looked to keep the tempo as much as we could, but Palace hit back and any neutral would say they deserved something from the game."

He added: "We're disappointed we didn't win but it was a point and we are still unbeaten. In fact, we haven't conceded two goals for quite a few games and that shows you the sort of consistent high level the boys have been playing to.

"You get games like this, where you feel you should have won, but don't. It happens throughout the season. These are the sort of nitty-gritty games that you just have to get something from and we still did at the end of the day. It's not all silky football and you have to grind out results where you can.

"We're currently top with Arsenal, so it's a case of seeing what they do next, but more importantly, we just need to concentrate on getting the results we need. There is all to play for in the matches we have left."

Hammers: Blackmore, O'Neill(Spence 75), Widdowson, Miller, N'Gala , Hales, Stanislas (Hines 70), Collison, Jeffery (Hunt, 75), Sears, Fitzgerald
Subs Unused: Blackwell

By Laura Burkin