Potters down U18s

West Ham United Under-18s went down to a shock 4-1 defeat against Stoke City at Little Heath in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

The visitors went ahead against the run of play during the first half through Tomi Adeloye's smart chipped finish, before Marcio Martins headed the Hammers level soon after half-time from Kieran Bywater's free kick.

Just moments later, however, Stoke City moved back ahead when Edward Saunders bundled the ball over the line, before Adeloye and Derice Richards confirmed defeat for the Hammers.

With the majority of Steve Potts' side moving up to the Development Squad in recent weeks, the Hammers' U18 boss was again forced into naming a young side, picking the best players from the U16 squad to fill the void.

Tunji Akinola started in the heart of the defence alongside Emmanual Onariase, whilst England U16 striker Jahmal Hector-Ingram was again named on the bench.

The Hammers started on the front foot and gained control of the game early on with central midfielders Amos Nasha and Moses Makasi enjoying plenty of possession in the middle of the park.

Both Djair Parfitt-Williams and Bywater had chances to put the home side ahead in the opening 15 minutes, with the Hammers captain going closest when his stabbed effort was cleared off the line.

Just over ten minutes later and Stoke made the home side pay for their missed chances when Adeloye broke through the defence and kept his composure to coolly chip the ball over the on-rushing Sam Howes.

Into the second half and the Hammers again dictated a large percentage of possession, but again failed to turn their good spells into meaningful efforts on goal.

Just past the hour mark and West Ham's persistence was rewarded when Martins met Bywater's right wing free-kick and directed the ball into the top right-hand corner of the goal.

Parity on the score line didn't last for long, however, as Stoke were soon back in front following a goalmouth scramble. The visitors saw a free header from a corner bounce off the underside of the crossbar before several players bundled in on the ball with centre-half Saunders claiming to have made the decisive touch.

Things got worse for the hosts just minutes later when Adeloye picked the ball up and found a route into the Hammers penalty area, before firing past Howes into the top corner of the net to secure the points for the visiting team.

As the Hammers pushed for a response, the visitors took advantage of spaces at the back to add a fourth when Yusuf Coban was sent on his way down the left-hand touchline, before crossing low into the penalty area where Richards beat Howes to bundle home a fourth.

Steve Potts' men will be looking to turn their fortunes around in their next league fixture when they travel to Manchester City U18 on Saturday 12th April at 11am.

West Ham United U18: Howes, Pike (Diangana), Onariase, Akinola, Mavila, Nasha, Makasi, Amoo, Martins, Bywater, Parfitt-Williams (Hector-Ingram)
Subs not used: Parsons, Borg, Bailey
Goal: Martins 61