U18s earn their Spurs

West Ham United started their Barclays U18 Premier League Tier One campaign with an encouraging 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Little Heath on Saturday.

A well-taken finish from midfielder Ben Marlow straight after half-time gave newly-appointed manager Steve Potts a perfect start in his new job.

The match started with both teams looking to control the game from the midfield, with Hammers midfielder Josh Cullen getting involved in the centre of the pitch, winning possession of the ball and attempting to start the attacking moves.

As the game got into its flow, Tottenham began to adapt and take over the majority of the play, passing the ball around the pitch and pushing their attacking players further into West Ham's half in search of a goal.

Spurs' dominance in the first half almost saw them take the lead on several occasions. Daniel Akindayini twice found himself behind the Hammers defence, but West Ham goalkeeper Gines Guzman Rosique was equal to all that the forward fired at him.

The Hammers tried to work their own opportunities, with Thomas Gogo, Taylor Tombides and Nana Boakye-Yiadom all causing a threat to the Spurs back four with their pace.

Tottenham's hard work to dominate the first half was ripped apart straight after the break. Centre-half Jamie Harney clipped the ball into Cullen, who looked up and found Gogo running in behind the Spurs defence. Gogo laid the ball into the path of Marlow, who finished confidently into the bottom corner.

The Hammers were boosted by the goal and began to frustrate their opponents by keeping possession of the ball, making the Tottenham youngsters chase to earn the ball back.

Tottenham's best effort of the second half came from Akindayini, but his powerful shot was again turned away by an impressive save from Rosique.

The Hammers were under pressure in the closing stages as Spurs hunted for the equaliser, but as the home defence held strong, substitute Marcio Martins could have wrapped the game up for West Ham when he was through on goal, but the young striker was just denied by the leg of an opposing defender as he prepared for a shot.

Today's victory gives the Hammers the best-possible start to their Barclays U18 Premier League Tier One campaign, with Potts' men travelling to face Stoke City for their next league fixture on Saturday 19 January.

West Ham United U18s: Rosique, Siafa, Page (Homans), Marlow, Harney, Girdlestone, Gogo, Cullen, T.Tombides (Martins), Makasi, Boakye-Yiadom (Pike)