Five-star show from U18s

West Ham United picked up their second Barclays U18 Premier League victory of the season with an impressive 5-0 thrashing of Liverpool at Little Heath on Saturday.

First-half goals from Kieran Bywater (pictured), Jordan Brown and Reece Burke set the Hammers on their way to three points, with both Bywater and Brown netting again in the second half to secure a convincing win.

Hammers manager Steve Potts named a strong starting line-up which included defenders Burke and Kyle Knoyle, who have been called up by England U18s, and prolific attacking midfielder Bywater.

It was Bywater who continued his fantastic run in front of goal with the opener on eight minutes, curling a direct free-kick into the top left-hand corner after Josh Cullen had been fouled on the edge of the penalty area.

Liverpool came back strongly and were only denied an equaliser by the crossbar when Ryan Kent smashed a 25-yard shot against the woodwork.

Having escaped that let-off, West Ham doubled their lead two minutes before half-time when Djair Parfitt-Williams' deep cross found Brown in the box and he took the ball down on his chest, took a touch to put it onto his favoured right foot and buried it just inside the goalkeeper's near post.

The Hammers added a third in added-time before the break when Burke timed his header perfectly from Lewis Page's corner to head past Andrew Firth.

Into the second half and Potts might have been slightly concerned after seeing his side draw against Blackburn a fortnight ago at Little Heath after leading 3-1, but this game was a completely different story.

Just two minutes of the second half had passed when former Arsenal youngster Brown was released through the Liverpool defence by Cullen and, after looking up to see where the goalkeeper was positioned, he confidently placed the ball past the goalkeeper and into the corner of the net.

The hosts were on top form in this match and made the most of their visitors having a bad day at the office.
The Hammers could have grabbed a fifth on two occasions in the space of two minutes when Amos Nasha narrowly missed the target with his volleyed effort before Parfitt-Williams flicked Brown's cross over the crossbar.

The fifth goal did arrive, albeit in bizarre circumstances, shortly after the hour-mark. Bywater found himself free down on the right wing and, after looking up, he crossed and caught out Firth as the ball flew past the Reds goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

The result gave the Hammers their first victory since the opening-day 2-1 home win over Manchester United.

West Ham return to action at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday 5 October at 12noon.

U18s: Howes, Knoyle (Amoo), Burke (Onariase), Harney, Page, Nasha, Makasi (Mavila), Cullen, Bywater, Parfitt-Williams, Brown
Subs not used: Nemrava, Martins