West Ham United Reserves 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur Reserves
A hat-trick from Adel Taarabt saw Tottenham Hotspur complete a Barclays Premier Reserve League South double over West Ham United with a 3-1 success at Bishop's Stortford FC.
Taarabt scored twice with powerful, precise finishes before adding a late penalty as Spurs came from behind to win following Anthony Edgar's well-struck fifth-minute opener.
With the first-team in FA Cup fifth-round replay action at Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening, Alex Dyer sent out a youthful lineup against the Hammers' cross-London rivals. Dyer named no fewer than ten teenagers, with 20-year-old striker Zavon Hines the elder statesman in the side.
Tottenham boss Clive Allen, the former West Ham striker, named former Portugal international Ricardo Rocha and the exciting Moroccan forward Taarabt in a similarly inexperienced selection. With two such youthful teams on display, it came as no surprise that both sets of players appeared eager to impress from the opening whistle.
The first half was thrill-a-minute as both goalkeepers - Marek Stech and Ben Alnwick - were kept busy by their opponents. For Spurs, Taarabt was an almost constant threat, unleashing shot after shot at the home goal. However, it was the hosts who were to open the scoring.
The lively Junior Stanislas had already gone close with a 25-yard free-kick when Hines' right-wing cross hit Anthony Edgar on the back before dropping into the winger's path. The Under-18 regular made no mistake, lashing the loose ball past Alnwick from an acute angle to give West Ham the lead.
The advantage was to last just five minutes, however, with Taarabt underlining his potential by running at the home defence before unleashing an unstoppable low drive from just outside the penalty area. Stech was given no chance by the African, whose shot arrowed into the bottom left-hand corner.
With both teams throwing men forward at every opportunity, it was something of a miracle that the remainder of the first half was scoreless. For the Hammers, Stanislas is a constant threat, while Hines - called up to the senior Jamaica squad for the first time earlier this month - gave the experienced Rocha a torrid time with his pace and movement.
Edgar and Ashley Miller both tested Alnwick with low shots, while Tom Harvey was unlucky to see his shot blocked on the line by Daniel Hutchins. At the other end, Taarabt had no fewer than seven attempts at goal, only for a combination of Stech, captain Josh Payne, defender Matthew Fry, midfielder Georg Grasser and the forward's own wayward finishing to prevent him adding to his early strike.
The second period was less incident-packed, but still produced more than enough excitement to enthral a sizeable crowd at Woodside Park. It was England Under-19 winger Stanislas, who has recently enjoyed a successful loan spell with League One Southend United, who almost created a winner for Edgar, only for the No11 to shoot straight at Alnwick after being sent clear of the Spurs defence.
Dyer chose to blood three more of the club's Under-18 side during the second half, with Northern Ireland youth international midfielder Daniel Kearns, central defender Callum McNaughton and Hungary Under-19 striker Balint Bajner all given the opportunity to shine.
With the impressive Fry, who showed his versatility by switching to left-back late on, keeping tabs on Kudos Oyenuga, Tottenham no longer posed the threat they had during the opening 45 minutes. However, the talented Taarabt could not be kept quiet for the entire half and broke the Hammers' hearts with just six minutes remaining.
There appeared to be little danger when the 19-year-old picked the ball up 40 yards from goal, but Taarabt had other ideas, cutting between Kearns and Harvey before unleashing a fierce left-foot shot that flew into the bottom left-hand corner.
There was still time for Payne, who also impressed in a central defensive role, to work Alnwick again with a looping header from a curling Stanislas free-kick, but Spurs had the final say as Taarabt completed his treble - and a league double over the Hammers - from the penalty spot after McNaughton had brought down David Hutton.
Despite the defeat, coach Dyer will take plenty of positives from the performance of his young side. Fry, Payne, Hines and Stanislas all caught the eye, while Stech had no chance with any of Taarabt's three goals.
West Ham United: Marek Stech, Ryan O'Neill, Josh Payne, Matthew Fry, Ashley Miller (McNaughton 73), Anthony Edgar, Tom Harvey, Georg Grasser (Daniel Kearns 48), Junior Stanislas, Jack Jeffery, Zavon Hines (Baling Bajner 78)
Subs: Peter Loveday, Ahmed Abdulla