U21s kick-off with big win

West Ham United U21s started their pre-season schedule with a convincing 4-0 win over Swansea City 4-0 at Little Heath on Tuesday.

Three first-half goals from Kieran Sadlier, George Moncur and Sean Maguire put the Hammers on track for victory, with substitute Paul McCallum rubber stamping the result late in the second half.

U21 boss Nick Haycock had the pleasure of being able to select from a large pool of talent, including a selection of scholars, young professionals and players with first-team experience.

Both sides looked energetic in the early stages, but it was the travelling side who nearly took the lead. Swansea's attacking mentality created an effort on goal, but they failed to keep the follow-up shot on target after Stephen Henderson had parried the original shot.

West Ham made Swansea pay for not taking their chances when Sadlier got on the end of a whipped right-wing cross and volleyed past the goalkeeper from close range.

Then, a little more than ten minutes later, West Ham doubled their lead. Moncur picked up the ball in the centre of the pitch, laid it into the feet of Maguire, who held off the defender long enough for Moncur to charge through the defensive line and slot in West Ham's second.

The game was pretty much over on 36 minutes when Irish striker Maguire got on the end of Amos Nasha's through ball to add a third.

Into the second half, it was the combination of Nathan Mavila's corners and McCallum's height that was threatening the Swansea defence.

On three separate occasions, McCallum rose above everyone else in the Swansea penalty area for a free header at goal, but hitting the crossbar was the closest the towering striker went to scoring with his head. It was a different story with his feet, however, as the former Dulwich Hamlet man buried a low shot into the far corner off the right-hand post with just a few minutes remaining.

The win was a pleasant start to Haycock's first full season as U21s manager, with a trip to face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday 20 July the next on the agenda.