Hilton offers high praise

Paul Hilton was is looking to see even more progress from the youthful West Ham United Under-18s when they travel to Tottenham Hotspur for their second pre-season friendly on Saturday morning.

"We will assess what sort of squad we will take there," said Hilton, the assistant Academy director reflecting on the hard-fought 2-2 pre-season friendly draw at Tiptree United on Wednesday that kicked-off the summer programme. "

We have picked up one or two bruises from Wednesday night and there is a reserve friendly at Thurrock on Friday, but we'll be okay."

At Tiptree, the Hammers took the lead ten minutes after half-time through Spanish defender Sergio Sanchez, only for the Essex Senior League side to score twice in the space of five minutes to take a 2-1 lead.

However, West Ham's youngsters refused to give up, with schoolboy Mathias Fanimo and Irish youth international Daniel Purdy both going close to scoring before 15-year-old George Moncur lashed in a dramatic long-range equaliser with three minutes remaining.

Hilton was delighted with the application and attitude shown by his young squad.

"It was a good workout for the lads," said the former West Ham defender. "We were young and it was always going to be a tough game physically for us with the strength of the opposition, but I thought the lads coped well and showed some good signs that we're going in the right direction.

"We conceded a couple of sloppy goals from our point of view, but you expect things like that in pre-season games. In the second half we made a few substitutions and we had three schoolboys on there and they acquitted themselves very well. To stay positive and get back into the game was encouraging."

"We also had a couple of other chances. We did well to stay hit the post and both Mathias and Daniel came close to scoring, so we did well."

Forward Fanimo was particularly impressive at Chapel Road, running at the Tiptree defence repeatedly and causing untold amounts of confusion in the hosts' rearguard.

A third schoolboy, Blair Turgot, also shone, hitting the inside of the post with a low shot following yet another Fanimo dribble.