'We had it won but lost'

West Ham United U18s 3-4 Southampton U18s

West Ham United Under-18s were denied a seventh consecutive FA Premier Academy League victory as Southampton scored twice in the closing five minutes to score a dramatic 4-3 win.

The Hammers looked set to score a notable success over the Group A leaders when strikes from Robert Hall and Blair Turgott and an own-goal put them 3-1 up with half-an-hour remaining.

However, the Saints launched a determined late comeback at Little Heath, taking advantage of some loose defending to score three times to leave Tony Carr wondering what might have been.

"We should have won the game - we were 2-0 and 3-1 up but just blew it in the last 25 minutes," said the Academy Director. "We made mistakes and got tired. All credit to Southampton, because they kept going and we gifted them their last two goals in the final five minutes.

"We had it won but we just gave it to them. To be fair to Southampton, they worked very hard, played very direct and had two very quick forwards.

"Unfortunately, Paco Craig and Callum Driver - who up to then had played very well - made individual errors and Southampton took full advantage."

West Ham went ahead through a low shot from Robert Hall that Southampton's goalkeeper allowed to slip under his body, and it was 2-0 before half-time when Matthias Fanimo's low cross was diverted into his own net by a Saints defender.

Southampton pulled a goal back before Blair Turgott (pictured) re-established the Hammers' two-goal advantage when he cut in from the left and drilled a low shot into the net.

"With 25 minutes to go, the game was dead and, if anything, we looked like scoring again rather than conceding, then Paco made a poor clearance and one of their boys scored with a fantastic strike to make it 3-2.

"We then conceded two poor goals in the closing minutes. The first came when a free-kick was left by everybody and one of their boys just didn't give it up. He hit a low ball across the face of goal and we just went to sleep and they tapped it in.

"Then, Callum should have just kicked a long ball out of defence out, but he tried to control it. He was dispossessed and they crossed the ball very quickly and scored the winner.

"I am very disappointed because we played really, really well for an hour against the league leaders and then blew it - that's the only way to sum it up."

Following Saturday's defeat, West Ham sit sixth in the Group A table with 22 points from 16 matches, while Southampton are top with 30 points.

West Ham United U18s: Larkins, Modelski, Craig, Chambers, Driver, Turgott, Lletget (Vose), Powell (Hunt), Fanimo, Hall, Tombides