West Brom too strong

West Bromwich Albion Under-18s 3-2 West Ham United Under-18s

West Ham United Under-18s suffered a losing start to the FA Premier Academy League season, going down to a 3-2 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

The Hammers started sluggishly in the Midlands, falling 2-0 down before staging an admirable fightback through goals from Matthias Fanimo and Danny Subuola either side of half-time.

Unfortunately, the Baggies regained their composure and netted a late winner to leave Academy Director Tony Carr feeling frustrated.

"We started as if we were still in bed and fell two goals down and, to be fair, it could have been more. We found our feet and got it back to 2-2, then proceeded to dominate the second half, but we couldn't score a third.

"They took advantage when we failed to clear a long throw and scored the winner."

West Ham's first goal was scored by England U17 winger Fanimo, who netted a low shot across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner shortly before half-time.

Then, ten minutes after the break, Subuola opened his account for the new season to level matters, but Carr's youngsters could not hold on.

The Academy Director has urged his players to tighten things up defensively if they are to get back to winning ways when Middlesbrough visit Little Heath on Friday afternoon, kick-off 2.30pm.

"I thought we deserved at least a draw, if I'm being honest, but we got punished for starting slowly and then lapsing defensively after getting back to 2-2.

"When we equalised it looked like we would go on and win the game, but our marking was loose and they took advantage of it.

"We seem to have to score three goals just to get something out of a game at the moment - it was the same in pre-season. We're going to have to get better defensively if we're going to win games."

Carr admitted Middlesbrough would provide a new and mysterious test for his side. The Hammers and Boro are in different FA Premier Academy League groups and have not played each other at youth level in the Academy Director's time at the club.

"We play Middlesbrough on Friday afternoon and I must admit I don't know much about them at all, as we haven't played them since I can remember.

"I am more concerned about how we play, though, to be honest, and I'll be making sure we are properly prepared for the game come Friday."

West Ham United U18: Wootton, Modelski, McNaughton, Sanchez, Driver (Young 85), Vose (Tombides 80), Moncur, Purdy (Hurley 46), Fanimo, Hall, Subuola