Carr rues missed chances

Academy Director Tony Carr MBE felt the Under-18s were the architects of their own downfall on Saturday as they fell to a narrow defeat against Everton.

The Hammers fell behind at Finch Farm to a Delial Brewster goal before Jerry Amoo equalised to send the sides in level at the break.

Kieran Bywater missed the chance to put the visitors ahead from the penalty spot shortly after half-time and his miss was to prove costly as Harry Charsley closed down Gines Guzman's clearance and rolled the ball into the net.

Steve Potts fielded a side containing a number of the Club's schoolboy section against the Toffees and Carr felt their performance deserved some reward.

He said: "I thought we did very well because we had a young team out on Saturday. I thought it was a game that we should have got something from.

"We gifted them the first goal with a loose back pass that was intercepted then we equalised through Jerry Amoo and then had another one-on-one when he might have done better. At half-time we turned round at 1-1 and started the second half very well, we were on the front foot and got a penalty in the first ten minutes.

"Unfortunately Kieran Bywater missed it, the keeper made a good save and we rued that at the end because a goalkeeping error gifted them a goal and they won 2-1. We felt a little bit aggrieved, pleased with the way the young ones adapted to the challenge but disappointed with the overall result."

The youthful nature of the side did not detract from their level of performance and Carr is confident that the younger players in the team did enough to suggest they can maintain the Hammers' position at the top of the Barclays U18 Premier League.

"They've adapted very well, there's no question about it. It all bodes well for the future. It's the time of year when you do tend to blood the younger players.

"We've still got a chance of finishing in the top-two although we might need someone to do us a favour by beating Fulham or Tottenham along the way.

"We're still aiming to try and finish in the top-two and have a little flurry at the end of the season to get into the play-offs. We've still got plenty of challenges ahead. I'm really pleased with the way it's developed this year."

Defeat to Everton followed a slender 1-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur which has wiped out the Hammers advantage at the top of the table.

Several of the current Development Squad started the season with the U18s but have now become key players for the U21s, and Carr is delighted with their progress.

"The four or five of the U18s that did well for us moved up into the U21s. Jordan Brown scored a goal and made the other against Middlesbrough. As much as it's disappointing it definitely is encouraging that they can push up and they can cope with that very well. It's not all about results although we do try to win the game obviously."

Brown has been the most recent Academy player to step up and make his mark for Nick Haycock's team, with three goals in his first two starts for the squad, impressing the Academy Director along the way.

"When he came to us it was a new club for him and it did take some time for him to settle. He's started to play with a lot more consistency, started to get on the scoresheet and Nick has called him up into the U21s and he obviously hasn't let them down. It's a new challenge for him and we're very pleased with his progress so far."