West Ham United's youngsters came up short in their bid to win the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens on Sunday - losing their decisive quarter-final tie against the Australian Institute of Sport.
The 2-0 defeat by a side made up of the Socceroos' best Under-20 players meant Tony Carr's inexperienced team including the likes of 17-year-old defender Jordan Spence and 16-year-old midfielder Oliver Lee could no longer win the competition. They instead moved into a separate event for the losing last-eight sides and then won 1-0 against Eastleigh, thanks to a Tony Stokes goal, before a 'shield final' against Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds, going down 3-2 to a team they had beaten 2-0 in Saturday's group stage.
West Ham United academy director Tony Carr said: "We scored very two good goals again - both from Tony Stokes - but we run out of legs and we ended up losing 3-2. Once they pulled one back, they really kept it and worked us and we couldn't hang on. We are very pleased overall. We played six games in a very short space of time. The heat and humidity you can't explain unless you have experienced it. We have ended up winning three games and losing two out of six. Overall, in the tournament we finished sixth out of 16 which I thought was quite creditable considering the team we had."
Carr explained his side were probably the youngest squad taking part with his side all from the 2007/08 Under-18 set-up except for captain Stokes while most of the other teams on view were made up of U20 players. "They were a lot older than us which made life a bit tough when it is just seven a side and you are playing in difficult conditions as well. It was a good experience and we really enjoyed it." Having taken much from the experience, the team will fly back on Monday and arrive back in London early on Tuesday with all involved then getting the chance to go on holiday.