U18s bury Boro

West Ham United Under-18s 5-1 Middlesbrough Under-18s

Robert Hall was the hat-trick hero as West Ham United Under-18s defeated Middlesbrough 5-1 to record their first FA Premier Academy League victory of the season.

The England U17 international struck with three clinical finishes, while Daniel Subuola was also on target. An own-goal from Boro No3 Adam Reach completed the Hammers' scoring at Little Heath.

The Friday afternoon fixture started in rip-roaring fashion, with three goals being scored in the opening seven minutes. Hall added a third just past the half-hour mark before second-half goals from Subuola and that boy Hall ensured Tony Carr's side picked up their first points of the 2010/11 campaign.

In truth, the final tally of six goals was a conservative return for a pulsating match that the Teessiders played their full part in. Only poor finishing and a combination of goalkeeper Sam Cowler and his defenders ensured Boro did not add to Reach's sixth-minute free-kick.

"It was a good win, but to be fair the scoreline could have been more comprehensive," said Carr. "We could have conceded more goals and we could certainly have had another two or three ourselves from the opportunities we created. I'm certainly not complaining, because we're off and running with three points.

"A 5-1 scoreline sounds convincing but it wasn't as convincing as the scoreline suggests. Middlesbrough played great football with great build-up play and they missed some good opportunities to be fair.

"It was a very open game - we attacked them and they attacked us. It was end-to-end stuff and there were lots of goals."

West Ham took just four minutes to go ahead, Hall seeing his cross-shot deflect off Reach and past Boro goalkeeper Adam Smith. Within two minutes, the left-back had atoned for his error, catching Sam Cowler off-guard with a quickly-taken 25-yard free-kick.

Carr was angry at his side's lack of alertness, but that anger turned to joy within a minute as Hall latched on to Subuola's header before beating his defender and smashing a low shot in off the far post.

Cowler was called into action again on 12 minutes, saving from Curtis Edwards before Hall and Dominic Vose both worked Smith with low shots.

Hall, who won the UEFA European U17 Championship with England in May, doubled the hosts' advantage on 31 minutes, completing a superb one-touch move involving Subuola and Vose with an accurate finish into the corner.

Middlesbrough made two substitutions at the break and the changes briefly looked like bringing the visitors back into the game, only for Subuola to kill-off any chances of a comeback on 68 minutes.

The striker, who also scored in the 3-2 opening-day defeat at West Bromwich Albion, showed composure to latch on to George Moncur's pass and fire under Smith's body.

Two minutes later, Hall completed the scoring in emphatic style, taking advantage of a slip by a Boro defender to race in on goal from 40 yards out before smashing an unstoppable shot past the unfortunate goalkeeper.

Carr was pleased with the performance of his star forward, as well as those by a host of others, including Subuola, Moncur and Republic of Ireland youth international Eoin Wearen, who shone in central midfield.

"That's what Robert is renowned for, he's a good finisher. He got his three goals but he'll be disappointed that he didn't score one or two more. Danny Subuola chipped in with a goal again - that's two in two games - and the other was an own-goal that Robert instigated.

"I thought George and Eoin marshalled the midfield very well, while the younger lads Dominic Vose, Jack Powell and Lamar Hurley are still learning the game and coming to terms with football at this level.

"They'll get better, they'll get fitter and hopefully we'll move on from here and look upon this as something of a benchmark for the rest of the season."

West Ham's U18s return to action on Saturday 4 September, when they travel to Birmingham City.

West Ham United U18s: Cowler, Driver (Lee 76), Craig, Sanchez (Young 76), Brown, Hurley, Wearen, Moncur, Vose, Hall, Subuola (Powell 76)
Subs not used: Wootton, Werndly